Mary Lennox 生于印度，家境优渥，可她的父母都不喜欢玛丽，认为她是个任性，自私，脾气十分暴躁，很不讨人喜欢的小孩。他们安排仆人去看管照顾她，也没有关心玛丽的成长。
然而，在玛丽十岁左右时，因霍乱疫情蔓延、扩散，她的父母和仆人纷纷去世，幸存下来的仆人连忙赶回老家。不久后，她被安排去到素未谋面的姨父 Archibald Craven 家 — Misselthwaite Manor。
玛丽的姨父安排性情温和的女仆 Martha 去照顾她。 在不久后，Martha 告诉玛丽她已逝世的姨妈 Ms Craven 是从花园的秋千上掉下来摔死的，并吩咐园丁 Ben Weatherstaff 将花园的门上锁。 玛丽开始对这个空荡荡的大房子产生兴趣，她想知道那将近有100间房间和被封锁的花园里都是长什么样的。
玛丽打算独自秘密地探寻房间和花园。在"探险"的过程中，知更鸟 robin 是玛丽的第一个朋友，Ben Weatherstaff 是玛丽在花园里见到的第一个人。
玛丽找到钥匙之后，向 Martha 要了一些用于花园种植的工具。Martha不仅给了她一些工具，还让她十二岁的弟弟 Dickon 跟她一起玩。
Mary 和 Dickon 第一次见面就喜欢彼此并玩在一起。在不久后，玛丽从房间里听见有人在哭，发现了原来是她的表弟 Colin。他因病魔缠身而行动不便，常躺在床上，几乎没有出过房间门。
玛丽甚至做了一回"医生"，让 Colin 得知原来他的背部没有肿块，只不过是太瘦了。
后来，Colin可以不用再躺在床上后，常坐着轮椅和 Mary, Dickon 去秘密花园里游玩。
在一天太阳落山后，奇迹发生了。玛丽，Colin, Dickon在屋子里聊天，突然看到 Ben Weatherstaff 在窗外看进来。他一直盯着 Colin，觉得很奇怪。他们俩交谈了一阵子，Ben Weatherstaff 的话"刺激"到Colin，Colin 为了证明自己没有跛脚，在玛丽的鼓励下，他笔直地站起来了！
故事快接近尾声，Mary 和 Colin 因为这一切神秘的动植物，因为 Dickon，因为一座秘密花园，各自都有了翻天覆地的变化。Mr. Craven 经过一年的外出旅行后，他想通了自己的过错 — 一直没有好好照顾 Colin， 而是陷入妻子逝世的痛苦之中。收到一封信后他决定要回家—回家看他多年忽视的儿子和妻子遗留下的花园。 当他回到家中与 Colin 重聚时，简直难以置信Colin的巨大改变。他感到有些内疚，感动和欣慰。最终玛丽还成为了 Craven 家的成员之一。
一座荒废隐秘的花园被再次构建成一座快乐殿堂，Mary & Colin 的成长，Craven 的醒悟，故事也就画上了圆满的句号。
From these children's perspective, I think, children needboundaries,nurturingandmeaningful connections to their surroundings.
If they treated with fear and submission, they will turn into tyrants to test how far they can go before they receive others' attention. If they are handled with severity, they will duck and hide.
To be a happy, mature, and responsible adult, between rights and duties should be balanced. And just like a flower in a garden,a child needs air, space, time and plenty of nurturing to blossom. Sometimesa smile, words of encouragement, sufficient support and much care from parentsdemonstrate whether the parents love and show respect for their children or not.
So long as Mistress Mary’s mind was full ofdisagreeable thoughtsabout her dislikes and sour opinions of people and her determinationnot to be pleased by or interested in anything, she was ayellow-faced, sickly, bored and wretched child.
Circumstances,however,were very kind to her,though she was not at all aware of it.They began to push her about for her own good.When her mind gradually filled itself with robins,andmoorland cottages crowded with children, with queer crabbed old gardenersandcommon littleYorkshire housemaids,withspringtimeand withsecret gardens coming alive day by day,and also witha moor boyandhis“creatures,”there was no room left for the disagreeable thoughts which affected her liver and her digestion and made her yellow and tired.
So long as Colinshut himself up in his roomand thought only of hisfears and weakness and his detestationof people who looked at him and reflected hourly onhumps and early death,he wasa hysterical half-crazy little hypochondriacwhoknew nothing of the sunshineand thespringand also did not know that hecould get well and could stand upon his feet if he tried to do it.
When new beautiful thoughts began to push out the old hideous ones, life began to come back to him,his blood ran healthily through his veins and strength poured into him like a flood.His scientific experiment was quite practical and simple and there was nothing weird about it at all.
Much more 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.
1⃣️Thetwo worst things as can happen to a child isnever to have his own way—or always to have it.
2⃣️ Where, you tend a rose, a thistle cannot grow.
3⃣️The place was a wilderness of autumn gold and purple and violet blue and flaming scarlet and on every side were sheaves of late lilies standing together—lilies which were white or white and ruby.
...... Late roses climbed and hung and clustered and the sunshine deepening the hue of the yellowing trees made one feel that one, stood in an embowered temple of gold.
4⃣️ One of the new things people began to find out in the last century was thatthoughts—just mere thoughts—areas powerful as electric batteries—asgoodfor one assunlightis,or asbadfor one aspoison.
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.
5⃣️ Thehummingof the bees in the blossomsmingled withthe chanting voice and drowsilymelted intoa doze.
6⃣️The afternoon was dragging towards its mellow hour. The sun was deepening the gold of its lances,the bees were going home and the birds were flying past less often.
7⃣️ To her surprise the surly oldweather-beatenface actually changed its expression. A slow smilespread overit and the gardener looked quite different.
8⃣️ The sun was beginning tosetandsending deep gold-colored rays slanting under the trees when they parted.
9⃣️ The quickmistswept over her eyes.
🔟 Her heart began tothumpand she felt herself changing into a stiff,plain,silent child again.
11.A sort of angry shadow passed over the boy’s face.
12. he had black hairstreakedwith white.
13. After another week of rainthe high arch of blue skyappeared again and the sun whichpoured downwas quite hot.
13. His face was pitifully white and there were dark circles round his eyes.
Originally published in 1911, The Secret Garden is a children's classic that is also suitable for adults.
( ps: With 519 partially-illustrated pages, the book is easy to read. )