Have you read or seen The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett? Have you ever wanted to accidentally stumble across a beautiful, hidden place that no one else knew about? That’s how I felt with Edinburgh’s Dunbar Close Garden.
I found an unassuming passageway which my maps app was telling me was the entrance. Was this right?! It looked as if it was the entrance to a residential cul-de-sac. I gingerly followed the path which led me to a secret garden tucked away, just off Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.
As I opened the gate and stepped inside, I felt as if I had entered into another world. The busy noises of the main tourist route of the city were far behind me and had been replaced by sounds of birds and the rustling of leaves in the wind.
Unlike the garden that Mary discovers in the secret garden Dunbar Close Garden is very well maintained. It is divided into 3 secluded parterres and styled as it would have been in the 17th Century. Its namesake derives from the Edinburgh writer David Dunbar who owned tenements on either side of this close in 1773.
However, whilst my discovery was different to Burnett’s novel in terms of the layout of the garden it was similar to the book in terms of the season. Few flowers were in bloom and the trees were bare. Yet on closer inspection spring was starting to show its colourful flora.
I discovered snowdrops, hiding in the borders. I also saw purple crocuses on the lawn in the final section of the garden.
I sat on one of the stone benches in the sunlight, enjoying the silence.
There were two others who had also stumbled across this secluded section of the Scottish capital. One was a lady with dark hair and wore glasses. She was deeply engrossed in a book. Another was an elderly gentleman with a mane of grey hair who was sitting in the sunshine. He had a gentle smile on his face and an essence of happy contemplation that he was very content in his current surroundings. I challenge anyone not to sit in happy contemplation in this garden.
The garden was surrounded by tall stone walls and try as I might I could not spy this green space from any of the nearby viewpoints. It truly was very well hidden.
Would you like to visit this secret garden? But shhhhh don’t tell anyone. Let’s keep it a secret.