There’s a nice little piece in the back of the current Radio Times listing some of the locations used to film the new movie version of The Secret Garden (premiering on Sky Cinema tonight).
The list is surprisingly long; presumably the film makers couldn’t find all the elements they needed in one garden and had to use bits from several. It includes Puzzlewood in the Forest of Dean (which sounds more like a theme park than a true garden); Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens; the laburnum arch at Bodnant Garden in North Wales (above); Trebah in Cornwall; Studley Water Garden/Fountains Abbey; and the Harold Peto Garden in Bath.
I’ve been to Bodnant (which is stunningly beautiful), Fountains Abbey, and the fascinating garden at Trebah which winds down a steep valley to a private cove on the Helford River. The others are all new to me. The one at Bath sounds gorgeous and as for that subtropical one, it apparently has pheasants and a sculpture trail and I want to go right now!
I’m hoping to catch the movie in the next few days although a friend on Facebook has warned me that the end result of all the filming has been heavily modified by CGI and doesn’t look anything like the book’s Yorkshire setting. I really must re-read the book, too. I last tackled it as a child and although I liked the discovery of the garden, I hated the rather lecturing tone. I’m not even sure I ever finished it, which means I was left with the impression that the secret garden itself was quite small. But judging by the amount of stuff they’ve had to film for it, that doesn’t seem to be the case at all.
Incidentally, the movie will have to go some way to surpass the 1970s TV version. And does anyone else remember the amazing haunting theme tune? I have my husband to thank for reminding me of that; he tracked it down on YouTube and when I heard it again it brought tears to my eyes.
Although I’ve been to Bodnant it was a very long time ago and I don’t have any photos. The picture above is from walesonline.co.uk.