Quotes from The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett 

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849 – 1924) was first published as a book in 1911 after being serialized starting in 1909. It’s the story of Mary Lennox, a sickly and neglected 10-year-old, born to wealthy British parents in India. After a cholera epidemic kills her parents, Mary is sent to England to live with her uncle in a mysterious house.

The tale follows the spoiled and sulky young girl as she slowly sheds her sour demeanor as she discovers a secret locked-up garden on the grounds of her uncle’s manor. She befriends Dickon, one of the servant’s brother, a free spirit who can communicate with animals, and Colin, her uncle’s son, a neglected invalid.

The Secret Garden is a tale spun around the power of kindness and love, painting powerful imagery of the damage that neglect and selfishness can produce. Mary’s redemption through learning to care for others has made this a timeless classic.

Frances Hodgson Burnett  was born in Cheetham, England. She emigrated to the U.S. with her mother and siblings when she was in her teens, and started publishing stories in magazines to help support her family.

During the course of a writing career that spanned some fifty years, Burnett produced over fifty books and thirteen stage plays. Most have been forgotten, swept into the literary dustbin that contains the legions of overly sentimental stories that were produced in that era. But she produced three works that endured — Little Lord Fauntleroy, The Secret Garden, and A Little Princess. They each had strong, offbeat characters and rose above the sugary sweetness and morality of children’s tales of the era.

Here are some touching quotes from A Secret Garden.

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“Hang in there. It is astonishing how short a time it can take for very wonderful things to happen.”

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“Perhaps there is a language which is not made of words and everything in the world understands it.”

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“When a man looks at the stars, he grows calm and forgets small things. They answer his questions and show him that his earth is only one of the million worlds. Hold your soul still and look upward often, and you will understand their speech. Never forget the stars.”

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“Two worst things as can happen to a child is never to have his own way – or always to have it.”

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“I am sure there is Magic in everything, only we have not sense enough to get hold of it and make it do things for us” 

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Fronticspiece from The Secret Garden by Charles Robinson, 1911 edition

Charles Robinson illustration from The Secret Garden, 1911 edition

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“At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can’t be done, then they see it can be done — then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago.” 

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“I am writing in the garden. To write as one should of a garden one must write not outside it or merely somewhere near it, but in the garden.”

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“She made herself stronger by fighting with the wind.”

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“One of the strange things about living in the world is that it is only now and then one is quite sure one is going to live forever and ever and ever. One knows it sometimes when one gets up at the tender solemn dawn-time and goes out and stands out and throws one’s head far back and looks up and up and watches the pale sky slowly changing and flushing and marvelous unknown things happening until the East almost makes one cry out and one’s heart stands still at the strange unchanging majesty of the rising of the sun — which has been happening every morning for thousands and thousands and thousands of years.”

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The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett on Amazon

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“One of the new things people began to find out in the last century was that thoughts — just mere thoughts—are as powerful as electric batteries — as good for one as sunlight is, or as bad for one as poison.”

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“To let a sad thought or a bad one get into your mind is as dangerous as letting a scarlet fever germ get into your body. If you let it stay there after it has got in you may never get over it as long as you live …  surprising things can happen to any one who, when a disagreeable or discouraged thought comes into his mind, just has the sense to remember in time and push it out by putting in an agreeable determinedly courageous one. Two things cannot be in one place.”

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“To let a sad thought or a bad one get into your mind is as dangerous as letting a scarlet fever germ get into your body. If you let it stay there after it has got you in you may never get over it as long as you live … ”

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“Of course there must be lots of Magic in the world,” he said wisely one day, “but people don’t know what it is like or how to make it. Perhaps the beginning is just to say nice things are going to happen until you make them happen. I am going to try and experiment.” 

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“As she came closer to him she noticed that there was a clean fresh scent of heather and grass and leaves about him, almost as if he were made of them.”

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A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

You might also like: Quotes from A Little Princess

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“Surprising things can happen to any one who, when a disagreeable or discouraged thought comes into his mind, or just has the sense to remember in time and push it out by putting in an agreeable determinedly courageous one. Two things cannot be in one place. Where you tend a rose … a thistle cannot grow.”

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“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” 

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“It is only now and then one is quite sure one is going to live forever and ever and ever.”

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Secret Garden Quote by Frances Hodgson Burnett

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“As long as you have a garden you have a future and as long as you have a future you are alive.”

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“And the secret garden bloomed and bloomed and every morning revealed new miracles.” 

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“However many years she lived, Mary always felt that ‘she should never forget that first morning when her garden began to grow’.” 

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“Sometimes since I’ve been in the garden I’ve looked up through the trees at the sky and I have had a strange feeling of being happy as if something was pushing and drawing in my chest and making me breathe fast. Magic is always pushing and drawing and making things out of nothing.”

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“Everything is made out of magic, leaves and trees, flowers and birds, badgers and foxes and squirrels and people. So it must be all around us. In this garden — in all the places.” 

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3 Responses to “Quotes from The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett ”

  1. The quotes are wonderful. Really wakes you up and looks at life the way writer wants you to look at it – in a positive, magical way.

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