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Posted by Tom, April 19, 2013

A history of horticulture

The statue of Alice in Central Park

Now that Spring seems to have finally sprung, there’ll be lots of sitting in gardens and enjoying the sunshine for the Crows this weekend. And in TRUE Friday afternoon fashion, our minds immediately leapt to thoughts of gardens in literature.

Given how potentially fertile (excuse the pun) a literary location gardens can be, they seem to be woefully underused in children’s books. But that isn’t to say there aren’t some excellent ones – here are some of our favourites:

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, and Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce, of course.

The Painted Garden by Noel Streatfeild.

The Oxford Botanical Garden is used to heartbreaking effect by Philip Pullman in the Amber Spyglass, as the location for Will and Lyra’s cross-dimensional almost-reunions.

There’s a great garden in The Twits – the scene for much mischief and trickery – and Philip Ardagh’s The Grunts in Trouble (which will appeal to any fan of The Twits) has an excellent garden, too.

Howl’s Moving Castle and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland feature appropriately magical gardens.

I’m sure Sam Gamgee’s garden is described with typically lavish detail at some point during the Lord of the Rings saga.

For younger children, there are fantastic gardens in Oliver’s Vegetables, King Jack and the Dragon, Now Now, Bernard, and The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

There are plenty of fairytale gardens – Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty spring to mind.

And Kate can’t let one of these lists go without finding the opportunity to mention The Diddakoi, by Rumer Godden, which does indeed feature a garden.

We hope your weekends will be suitably green-fingered – and if you can think of any favourite literary garden to add to our list, please suggest them below!

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