This map plots the settings and references in The Lost Garden

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The Lost Garden

The notion of a lost garden in Humphreys' novel is based on a garden the author's grandfather had discovered. Humphreys explains that her grandfather "found a lost garden on the English estate where he was living at the time. He worked with the garden: brought it back to its own fullness and, after his death, the estate was sold to a condo developer and the garden was lost again: this time forever."

For anyone who is a fan of Frances Hodgson Burnett's novel The Secret Garden, it's impossible not to be intrigued by the premise of a garden lost and then found. As it happens, another famous British garden was resurrected under similar circumstances: The Lost Gardens of Heligan.

A tiny room, buried under fallen masonry revealed this pencilled on the limestone walls: ""Don’t come here to sleep or slumber" with the names of those who worked there signed under the date - August 1914." 

There are other similarities between Heligan and Mosel. For example, American troops used Heligan House as a base. When the derelict gardens were discovered, a major effort was made to restore the gardens.

The similarities between Heligan and Mosel were impossible to resist. On a trip to England in 2007, I visited Heligan (in the pouring rain) with my children. I have Helen Humphreys to thank for that visit.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumThe Lost Gardens of Heligan - Credit: Christie McDonald