8 Famous Literary Gardens

Gardens are restorative, beautiful and provide a bounty of food and flowers. From the ancient (and perhaps mythical) Hanging Gardens of Babylon to the lush Gardens of Versailles, gardens have been immortalized in literature. Read on for some famous literary gardens or, learn how to start your own garden.


The Secret Garden Perhaps one of the most famous gardens in literature, The Secret Garden was first published in 1911 (after being serialized in 1910). Young and orphaned Mary Lennox is sent to live with her uncle in cold and gloomy Yorkshire, where she discovers a locked garden. A classic children's novel about grief and kindness.

Rebecca At the imposing Cornish estate of Manderley, there is a walled garden filled with rhododendrons and other cultivated flowers. The crimson rhododendrons, both their presence and smell, and the scent of azaleas are a frequent reminder to the new Mrs. de Winter that the late Mrs. de Winter shall not be forgot. 

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland The symbolism of the walled flower garden Alice tries to enter is a matter of debate. Is it the Garden of Eden or something else, like a metaphor for beauty? Spoiler: does your perspective of the garden change when Alice sees the gardeners painting the roses? 

Paradise Lost John Milton's masterful epic poem, first published in 1667, tells the story of the Fall of Man and describes the Garden of Eden, a paradise.

Tom's Midnight Garden After the clock strikes thirteen (yes, that's right), Tom gets out of bed and finds a magical garden that only he can enter. First published in 1958 and a Carnegie Medal book.

Pride and Prejudice In Jane Austen's time, gardens were a status symbol of society. A smaller kitchen garden contrasts the working class against the privileged upper class whose expansive, planned gardens and landscape parks were used for recreation purposes. Elizabeth, the heroine, is impressed by Mr. Darcy's grounds at Pemberley, and it is there that Elizabeth begins to reconsider her first impression of Mr. Darcy. Learn more about Regency gardens.

The Importance of Being Earnest Poet Oscar Wilde uses a "old-fashioned garden, full of roses" as a setting in his satirical play, contrasting culture and sophistication (the city) versus nature and innocence (the garden). 

A Midsummer Night's Dream How gorgeous and evocative is Shakespeare's description of Titania's floral bed? I may not know what all these flowers are, but I'd like to sleep there.

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lull’d in these flowers with dances and delight



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