122 weeks and 6 days | The Secret Garden

When I was a child I was obsessed by the book The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Especially the part where Mary Lennox finds the door in the wall and the little robin helps her to locate the key. The suspense, as she opened the gate to find the most beautiful walled garden, used to totally captivate me and I’d spend the next few days thinking about nothing else and imagining myself there.

So, imagine my excitement when — five years ago — we came to view our home for the first time and realised that this funny, little house, with it’s tin roof, had its own secret garden.

A beautiful private space, surrounded by tall, red brick walls, screened from prying eyes.

garden_2

It’s not the biggest garden in the world but it’s set over two levels so, as well as walls around the perimeter, there is another brick wall across the middle — with an arch in it — leading up to, what feels like, another garden.

Neither area is huge — they are just exactly the right size. The perfect amount of space for my boy to grow his vegetables, for our sons to play and for me to potter about in. There’s even space for the chicken coop too. It’s perfect for our little family.

I love it.

garden_1

In the summer months the garden really comes into its own, as we treat it almost like another room. It’s perfect for sitting in, playing in… generally just bimbling about in.

And perfect for entertaining in too — which is good — as we host a summer barbecue for our family every year.

It’s been an annual ritual for the last 10 years or so but, in our old home, we had a much smaller garden — almost postage stamp sized. Come rain or shine, we’d have this barbecue — admittedly it’s not quite so easy when it’s howling down with rain and 20 or more people are squashed into the kitchen — but we never cancelled due to poor weather! There’s no point putting things off when you’re British is there? You’d end up never doing anything.

Thankfully, this year’s family barbecue was last weekend and it dawned bright and sunny and we were treated to a really beautiful day. Blue skies, with a light breeze, perfect  for our family to descend on us en-masse.

garden_party_grid

This year, there were a few of our combined clans missing, so we had 15 adults and 2 children. Still no easy feat to seat everyone comfortably.

My boy made a fabulous table top one year, to fit over our little wooden patio table. You could fit 6 down each side and a couple either end then we’d bring all the kitchen and dining chairs into the garden.

This served us very well for a few years but when we moved here, we bought a gigantic outdoor dining set, to try and seat everyone.

It has a huge, glass topped, round table with curved benches that wrap around it. We can manage to get 16 round the table — at a push — so there’s only a few people left who need to use our old wooden table and chairs.

So picture the scene.

We’re all eating, chatting, enjoying a little too much Pimms and a lot of sunshine — then all of a sudden, there is an almighty CRACK as one of the the ancient wooden chairs, that my brother-in-law ‘was’ sitting on, collapses. Leaving him *almost* touching the ground.

Oops.

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Needless to say, ‘making do’ is no longer acceptable. We need to prevent this from happening, to some other poor unsuspecting soul and preserve their bottoms as well as their dignity.

So we’re on the look out for another set of chairs to go round the rickety little table.

Happily Asda are running a fab campaign* at the moment — they’ve just launched #ASDAOutdoors and are keen to get more people outdoors, enjoying their gardens this summer. They’ve put together a fab collection of lovely and affordable garden furniture and  I’ve had a quick look to see if there’s anything that takes my eye.

asda_outdoors_grid

  1. Retro Dining Chairs in Buttercup Yellow – Set of 2 — £40
  2. Heritage Folding Bistro Chair Green — £15
  3. Retro 3 Piece Moon Bistro Set — £99
  4. Heritage 3 Piece Classic Bistro Set in Cream & Heather — £119
  5. Jakarta Patio Arm Chairs Dark Linen – Set of 2 — £89


Number 5 has got my vote. Smart and comfy chairs — perfect for long, lazy lunches — that will sit around the existing table and tie in with the giant round table.

And be kind to bottoms too. Unlike their predecessors ;)

*Have a look out for their #AsdaOutdoors campaign — they’ve got a great range of garden furniture online to suit all tastes and all budgets.

This post was written in collaboration with Asda but all thoughts and words, as ever, are my own.

 

Caro Davies

Caro Davies art directed fashion and interiors before leaving the world of design to pursue a career in social media. She can now be found chasing the light — and two small twin boys.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Facebook

46 Comments

  1. Dominique
    21st July 2015 / 10:34 pm

    What a beautiful garden! I loved The Secret Garden when I was little too, I love the archway and the tantalising glimpse you get looking through it! Great selection of chairs too, my favourite is no.3 as I love that style but I don’t think my conservative hubby would let me get away with them! xx

    • 21st July 2015 / 10:48 pm

      Aah thanks so much Dominique! I was so totally captivated by that story… I have always had a thing for doors in garden walls, as a result!! I always dreamt of having a walled garden — so happy our little house has one :) xx

  2. 21st July 2015 / 10:55 pm

    What a stunning garden! So beautiful and that area for entertaining is ideal! :) And I love the chairs you have selected too. I think no.1 are my fave’s!

    Thanks for being an amazing co-host. LOVE this linky and running it with you xxxxxx #HomeEtc

    • 22nd July 2015 / 9:49 am

      Thanks lovely. Number 1 was my fave too — then Dickie pointed out that they might not be very comfy for long, lazy lunches!! He’s probably right too… number 5 has got comfy cushions!! That was the clincher!! :)

  3. 22nd July 2015 / 7:13 am

    I LOVE the idea of a statement garden! We have a large outdoor space at The Barn – nothing secret at all at the moment but you’ve got me thinking that I could MAKE a secret garden in one corner with things to discover – thanks for the inspiration and gorgeous pictures x #HomeEtc

    • 22nd July 2015 / 9:46 am

      Aah thanks Michelle! Yes — MAKE a secret garden!! I LOVE that idea :) At the mo, you’ve got a totally blank canvas — you could do whatever you wanted — how exciting!! :) xx

  4. 22nd July 2015 / 7:52 am

    your garden looks like a lovely space. Nice selection of chairs too – I like 2 & 3 #HomeEtc

    • 22nd July 2015 / 9:43 am

      Thanks so much Rebecca — I love 3 too!! Although I don’t think they’d be too good to sit on round the table whilst eating lunch!! ;) My absolutely favourite was number 1 but my boy — quite rightly — pointed out that they probably aren’t that comfy if you’re sitting on them for long periods!! xx

  5. 22nd July 2015 / 8:28 am

    I used to truly believe I was Mary Lennox…all I wanted was a secret garden of my own! I just love your outdoor space, it always look so inviting and must be perfect for gathering everyone together and lovely picks from Asda. The Moon Bistro set is my favourite, they looks so different and great value xx

    • 22nd July 2015 / 9:40 am

      ME TOO!!! I LOVED that book — absolutely LOVED it. I’ve got to say, I love our little house but the garden is the thing that really sold it to us. I totally love it. I feel very privileged to have a secret garden of my own xx

  6. 22nd July 2015 / 8:40 am

    SUCH a pretty garden, I love it. And I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised by the ASDA garden furniture too, got my eye on number 5! xx

    • 22nd July 2015 / 9:55 am

      Thanks lovely! It’s so pretty in the summer — so many flowers popping up all over the place! Asda have got some AMAZING ranges — who knew?! Number 5 looks mega comfy — really good for a long boozy lunch!! ;)

  7. 22nd July 2015 / 9:25 am

    Ah, I love all the photo’s you have posted of your garden – I just think walled gardens are so charming, and romantic.

    As for the garden chairs – I also like 5 but I think my absolute favourite is number 1. Xxx

    • 22nd July 2015 / 9:37 am

      Thanks so much lovely :) I’ve always been OBSESSED with walled gardens!! It’s totally down to that book too!! ;)

  8. 22nd July 2015 / 9:29 am

    Ooh your garden is absolutely lovely, I hope you never leave!! Secret gardens are so much fun and what a funny story, I always had it in my mind that wood was indestructible! Lovely ideas from the Asda range too x #HomeEtc

    • 22nd July 2015 / 9:53 am

      Thanks so much lovely — I don’t think we’ll ever sell this house to be honest. We’ve made so many amazing memories here. Yes — I agree re the wood thing!! I thought they were indestructible too! Just goes to show that heavy duty parties and many long, lazy lunches can take it’s toll on even the sturdiest chair!! ;)

  9. Emma's Mamma
    22nd July 2015 / 11:13 am

    What a lovely garden! It looks big to me! I didn’t know ASDA did garden furniture. They look really good! Thanks for hosting #HomeEtc xx

    • 22nd July 2015 / 1:16 pm

      Thanks so much — I didn’t know either!! The George range is SO fabulous!! Just love some of their things. The garden furniture range is fab — really good value and so design led too :)

  10. 22nd July 2015 / 11:23 am

    I am already in love with your garden from your Instagram snaps… and these photos are even lovelier! I also had a bit of thing about the Secret Garden, and I luckily did grow up in a garden with old walls and lots of little secret bits. I would love to have something more romantic – a series of rooms, rather than the terraced house straight-up-and-down garden that we have now. Your barbecue looks really fun. We have very similar ancient garden chairs! I love number 3 on your list – although it’s probably not the most practical choice! x #HomeEtc

    • 22nd July 2015 / 1:40 pm

      Aah that’s lovely Lizzie — thanks so much :) Watch out for your old garden chairs!!! They may SNAP when you least expect it!! ;)

  11. 22nd July 2015 / 2:56 pm

    Your garden looks truly perfect. I love that you now have your very own secret garden, it looks JUST how I imagine it from the book, too! :)

    Oh no, I bet that was quite a funny moment when your bro-in-law’s chair fell apart. Too many hotdogs?! ;)

    I love the Folding Bistro Chairs, we have some v. similar for our decking. I love to sit outside and have lunch on nice days. xx

    #HomeEtc

    • 22nd July 2015 / 7:44 pm

      Aaah it’s not perfect but I love it Jenna — it really reminds me of the book. And yep — It WAS a funny moment!! The poor guy had no help at all cos we were too busy laughing at him!!! Poor thing!! x

  12. 22nd July 2015 / 9:46 pm

    Oh Caro, your garden is beautiful and that was one of my favourite books growing up too. I adore walled gardens. We have a red brick wall at the end of ours but our garden isn’t a patch on yours. I do have furniture very much like your chosen number five, though. I can definitely recommend those chairs :)

    • 23rd July 2015 / 6:58 pm

      Thanks so much Rachel. I was totally obsessed by that book — loved everything about it — I’m sure that’s where my love of walled gardens comes from!! It was on my list of ‘wants’ — although I have forgone a utility room and downstairs loo in favour of having one!! ;)

  13. 22nd July 2015 / 10:02 pm

    Your poor brother in law. You’ll have to give him first choice of chair at next year’s do!
    Your garden is beautiful in a rambling, country cottage way. I bet your boys love the nooks and crannies created by the walls, archway and shrubs.#HomeEtc
    Fionnuala from http://www.threesonslater.blogspot.com

    • 23rd July 2015 / 6:59 pm

      Yep — I absolutely agree!! Poor Mike — I felt so sorry for him. Particularly as no-one helped him up cos they were too busy laughing!!

  14. 22nd July 2015 / 10:47 pm

    Oh my god, the Secret Garden was my favourite book too – I was forever lost in my own world reading that book! I am so jealous of your garden, it really has got a secret bit – that is so unique! I’m amazed how you fit 16 people around that table haha. And the Asda chairs are really good value for money, that’s really good to know :-) Sabrina xx
    #HomeEtc

    • 23rd July 2015 / 7:08 pm

      Aaah that’s so lovely to hear!! :) I absolutely loved it and never tired of reading it! Yep — 16 is a squash but we have managed it! Asda have got some fab bits of furniture in at the mo! Who knew?! Really fab design led pieces too xx

  15. 23rd July 2015 / 9:38 am

    I want your garden! I would love a walled garden, so beautiful. My girl’s just bought The Secret Garden, and I’m looking forward to reading it with her.

    I like all of those chairs, though I think the retro set looks the most comfortable x

    • 23rd July 2015 / 7:11 pm

      Aah thanks so much Jocelyn — that’s so lovely of you! :) I’m SO envious that your daughter is going to hear The Secret Garden for the very first time!!! I loved — and love — it SO much. I was absolutely enchanted by it when I was a little girl! x

  16. 23rd July 2015 / 9:42 am

    What a lovely garden – and so nice to have that archway leading to another “room”. We’ve had that happen with old wooden chairs and it’s a bit embarrassing isn’t it – for everyone! But in our case it’s provided one of those family stories that just live on, love those chairs you’ve chosen but also the second ones are fab too. #homeetc

    • 23rd July 2015 / 7:16 pm

      Aah thanks so much Stephanie — it really is lovely to have another — especially as it wraps around and is double the width of the main part of the garden! Awful isn’t it — for a guest to end up on the floor — when a chair breaks!! Sods law it was him and not me or my husband!! ;)

  17. 24th July 2015 / 10:46 pm

    Your garden is so pretty and looks so lovely all dressed up for entertaining! I love all the stuff in your roundup bit – such good taste! Jemma x

    • 26th July 2015 / 8:15 pm

      Aaah thanks so much Jemma — that’s so lovely of you! x

  18. 25th July 2015 / 8:02 am

    oh I am so envious of your garden, I would have fallen in love with that garden on first sight. Secret Garden was one of my faves too. What a fab party you put on, you are the perfect host.

    • 26th July 2015 / 8:15 pm

      Aaah thanks lovely. Weird isn’t it? The house is smaller than we’d have liked and didn’t tick all our wish-list boxes but the garden MORE than made up for all those things xx

  19. 25th July 2015 / 11:05 am

    I love the idea of a yearly barbecue for the family! We usually have one in July around the time of our daughter’s birthday but this year, for the first time ever, she went away to spend her 12th birthday in Paris with school! It was a difficult day but I was kept busy being at work and out for a party with my youngest in the evening so it could have been worse! I’m still holding out some hope for a BBQ tho! (The weather just isn’t playing the game this summer hols is it?!) Love all the ASDA outdoors chairs, I agree with you on number 5 (stylish and practical) but the others are so bright and playful I would love to have them all!! You are so lucky to have your very own secret garden! I loved that book too!

    • 26th July 2015 / 8:13 pm

      It’s SUCH a lovely thing to look forward to. We began holding it around fathers’ day every year but it’s rained for the last 3 so we thought we’d move it to July this year!! Worked a treat — wall to wall sunshine! Thanks so much for stopping by :)

  20. 25th July 2015 / 7:44 pm

    I dream of a garden like yours – it is dreamy and the BBQ sounds great fun. I love the yellow chairs, although number 5 definitely looks the comfiest! x

    • 26th July 2015 / 8:12 pm

      Aaah that’s lovely of you Esther! I love the yellow chairs too — they were certainly my favourite pick. My boy rightly pointed out — as you have — that the others look a lot more comfy though :)

  21. 25th July 2015 / 9:33 pm

    I loved the secret garden as a child too!!! I would love to have a garden like yours x

    • 26th July 2015 / 8:10 pm

      Aah thanks Kate. It is such a magical book isn’t it? Considering it’s quite a sad tale I used to be totally transfixed by it! x

  22. 26th July 2015 / 11:12 pm

    I loved the secret garden as a child too, still read it occasionally :) Your garden is stunning and I have to admit that I am completely jealous and cannot wait for our garden to be usable, not that it will ever be as quaint and stunning as yours mind lol xxx

    • 27th July 2015 / 1:49 pm

      I’d love to read it again now — I’ve got a copy at my mum and dad’s house — I might have to try and root it out the next time I go back! Aah you’re garden will be lovely when it’s done Katie, I bet it will xx

  23. 27th July 2015 / 8:34 pm

    Oh wow I would love a garden like yours! My in laws have a great garden with a secret bit up the top, so cool! Love the asda garden sets, #3 gets my vote

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:44 am

      Aah thanks lovely!! They’ve got some fab stuff eh? It’s so lovely to see such great value pieces too :)

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