The Secret Garden

Nigel Cranfield

Published by

An Imprint of Melrose Press Limited
St Thomas Place, Ely


Copyright © Nigel Cranfield 2016

The Author asserts his moral right to
be identified as the author of this work

Cover designed by Corrina Holyoake

ISBN 978-1-910792-28-5
epub 978-1-910792-29-2
mobi 978-1-910792-30-8

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publishers.

This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

With special thanks to Juliette Chambers, Jo Cranfield, Mum & Dad, Steve & Jenny Baker, Justin Wright, Jon Embery, Carol Trenkel, Grant Macleod, Corrina Holyoake, Melrose Books and of course Dave the Robin, who to this day still patrols my garden.


Chapter 1A Robin Named Dave

Chapter 2Sammy the Snail

Chapter 3Warren the Worm

Chapter 4Stan the Pigeon

Chapter 5Wendy Woodlouse

Chapter 6Wendy’s Departure

Chapter 7The Garden

Chapter 8Henry Hedgehog

Chapter 9Bobby the Bee

Chapter 10Packing up for Winter

Chapter 1

A Robin Named Dave

It wasn’t until I met Juliette that I discovered I had a magical garden. For years I had lived alone in my old house, watching the plants come and go through the seasons, the occasional butterfly and bee jumping on and off various plants looking for something special, but nothing could have prepared me for the discovery I was about to make and the adventures it would lead to on that warm summer’s day in June.

I’d met Juliette at work and after months of secret dating had finally plucked up enough courage to invite her over for dinner. We were sat in the conservatory overlooking the garden when a robin arrived and perched himself on the apple tree. He flew down on to the grass, bounced about for a bit, jumped back up on to the tree, then down again and rested on the path. He hopped rapidly towards us, settling on the small brick wall facing the conservatory. I grabbed my phone and took a quick picture as he remained on the wall, posing happily for shots. We opened the back door expecting him to fly off but he remained still, almost smiling at us. He began to chirp and sing as we crept closer and, incredibly, he then spoke.

“Hi, I’m Dave,” he said. “I live in a small nest just past your apple tree so thought it polite to come say ‘hi’ as I love your garden.”

Juliette and I looked at each other in amazement. “Oh, right, so you didn’t know we could speak,” said Dave. “Guess you just assumed that we sing and chirp, but can’t communicate. Well, truth is, we are a bit choosey, but this garden holds many magical secrets. Come with me and I’ll introduce you to a few of my friends, some of whom you have walked past daily and never really noticed.”

Slightly staggered and a little confused we introduced ourselves to Dave the robin and we followed him, somewhat nervously, back up the garden path. Before too long we had been introduced to Sammy the snail, apparently the quickest snail in the kingdom, Warren the worm, Sid the spider, Mr and Mrs Blackbird, Big Stan the portly pigeon, Bobby the bee, Madame Butterfly and Dave’s wife, Mrs Dave.

And this is the story of their garden adventures.

Chapter 2

Sammy the Snail

Sammy the snail whizzed up the path leaving his silver trail smouldering behind him. He was on a mission to see Sid the spider as he had breaking news about a group of ladybirds who wanted to settle in the magical garden. There was a chain of command in the garden, Dave the robin was head bird and controlled the comings and goings, his right hand man, or in this case a small creature, was Sid the spider, a red-eyed warrior of a spider whose webs glistened in the morning dew and captured the most unlikely of illegal visitors. Sid was the operations man and he decided if applications to join the garden were deemed good enough to present to Dave for the final yes or no.

Sammy reached the shed and was confronted by a huge web full of flies, but no sign of Sid. He whizzed back down the path, almost spinning Warren the worm around as he headed toward the rhododendron bush. Another newly spun web was in view but still no sign of Sid. Sammy sprinted from plant to plant, looking under leaves and in the long grass until he eventually spotted Sid climbing out of the conservatory window.

“Sid, what are you doing, you know you are not supposed to enter the house,” said Sammy.