March 19, 2011

Secrets of an Awakening Garden


The Borrowers is a series of children's fantasy novels by Mary Norton about tiny people who live in the homes of big people and "borrow" things to survive while keeping their existence unknown. The central characters of the novels are a borrower family surnamed Clock: Pod, Homily and their spirited teenage daughter, Arrietty. The first novel of the series, The Borrowers, was published in 1952 and won the Carnegie Medal for that year. In 2007, it was selected by judges of the CILIP Carnegie Medal for children's literature as one of the ten most important children's novels of the past 70 years.  (source Wikipedia)

As a child these wonderful books carried me into an imaginary world where little people lived among us and borrowed from my family.  I used to create little vignettes for them with moss covered seating made from rocks, small tables made from found objects and little Barbie odds and ends that I thought they might find useful.  I would spend hours dreaming about what our encounter would be like when we finally met...


Imagine my surprise when I found evidence of Borrowers in my very own garden!   Hidden among the new plants in my fountain turned planter is a little cottage.


And the most charming little girl who lives in the cottage.  She was a bit shy at first but after some gentle coaxing, she warmed up to me and allowed me the honor of taking her picture.  She said her family doesn't usually like homes where there are large animals but that our old dog is sweet and gentle.  Although carried away with excitement, I restrained myself from asking too many questions.  I didn't want to overwhelm her. She is such a delight and we have a great rapport so I'm sure to hear more about her adventures in my garden!


I hope you find some hidden treasures in your garden as you rediscover its secrets this spring.   Have a wonderfully imaginative weekend!

14 comments:

  1. I was an avid reader as a kid and LOVED The Borrowers!!! Their lives seemed so fascinating. A hat pin as a sword? Amazing! Before teaching science I taught English/Reading for 10 years and was always excited about the books we read. Such wonderful worlds to escape to!

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  2. I remember being lost in those good books ;~)

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  3. Although I've always been an avid reader I'm sorry to say I don't recognize this book at all. Good thing I don't have any problems reading children's books as an adult, I'll just add this to my 'must read' list!

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  4. So many commenters on this and other blogs have fond memories of The Borrowers. I never read them as a child, and may have to now!

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  5. Interesting post on the book... and as usual, I love your fotos...

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  6. I loved those books as a kid! It is nice to think of other little people enjoying our gardens as well. Love the little house! Your dog is adorable! Have a super weekend Cat!

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  7. That looks like a good book. I will try to get one for my children. Imagination is not as easily developed these days with all the media available.

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  8. I've never read the book, but a garden village is a fabulous idea!

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  9. What fun to see my old friends, the borrowers, in your post! Thanks for the reminder of many happy hours enjoying the adventures of the Clock family. So glad they've found a comfortable home in your garden!

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  10. The Borrowers are my most treasured literary friends! i recently wanted to re-read the books for the first time in about 20 years, and headed to the library. i was so excited to see that there was an additional book in the series that i had never read! i whipped though all 4 over a weekend and relived all the wonder and fascination they provided me as a kid. i can't wait to share these with my own child, and sneak around planting evidence in the garden like this!

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  11. @Tammy, Diana, Karin, Chris, Suzie, These books just carried me away as a child! They are very much like old friends. I've been looking for little fairies to add to my garden and when I found this little girl I immediately thought of The Borrowers and knew she'd found a home!

    @Marguerite, Laurrie, Lrong, Bom, Holley, I do so hope you'll get the opportunity to read some of these classics or at the least give them to a child you know. Bom, I couldn't agree more about the importance of books in fostering an active imagination.

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  12. Cat, your posts are always so beautiful, thoughtful and imaginative. Although I did not read this set of books as a child, I have 2 grandchildren who have Mammas who love books. I think this series is on my Christmas list :) Thank you always for your insight.

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  13. The cutest! I have never heard of this book but I may have to borrow it from the library now. And borrow your idea of a cottage in our garden:)

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  14. As a child I did not read this series but as an adult I am inclined to go out and search for them. Your post carried me to a couple of moments where I totally lost myself and I like that feeling! Thanks for a really cool distraction from reality;-)

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Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
"Pooh!" he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. "I just wanted to be sure of you."
~A.A. Milne

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