Help me find a particular Enid Blyton story
November 23, 2018 8:40 AM   Subscribe

In this story, the children are left in a neglected, overgrown garden, and decide to clean it up. They discover the remains of beautiful architectural features, such as colourful mosaic tiles under the weeds. I don't think it was one of her more famous series like Famous Five or Secret Seven, but I could be wrong.
posted by snarfois to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
It sounds like Mandy by Julie Andrews, published under her married name of Julie Edwards.
posted by padraigin at 8:58 AM on November 23, 2018

No, I don't think that was it. I'm pretty sure it was Enid Blyton. I'm not even sure it was a book; it may have been a short story. Or at least a very short book.
posted by snarfois at 9:35 AM on November 23, 2018

The Egypt Game starts like this.
posted by jbenben at 9:40 AM on November 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

Probably not The Children of Green Knowe (or one of its sequels) by Lucy M. Boston, but throwing it out there...
posted by MonkeyToes at 10:20 AM on November 23, 2018

That sound like The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett.
posted by theora55 at 10:34 AM on November 23, 2018 [3 favorites]

Is it possibly "The Secret Cave," which is a short story of hers found within the Enid Blyton Adventure Treasury? You can see it on Google books here.
posted by majesty_snowbird at 11:00 AM on November 23, 2018

In case it helps anyone: The Enid Blyton society--Novels and Novelettes and Recreation Books.

Looks like there is a short story called "The Very Untidy Garden." It's in Blyton's Fifteen-Minute Tales.
posted by MonkeyToes at 11:14 AM on November 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

It's not Burnett's "Secret Garden" which I just re-read with my daughter. No architecture in that garden.
posted by nkknkk at 12:09 PM on November 23, 2018

Definitely not "The Secret Garden".

Gosh, I thought this would be an easy one, but then, she did write a ridiculous number of stories. I asked out of idle curiousity. I've always been confident I'd be able to find this story again some day, but now I wonder if I ever will. I'd need to buy old copies with "The Secret Cave" and "The Very Untidy Garden" if I wanted to check; there's no more info via the internet, and the titles and covers don't ring a bell.

Thanks for the help anyway!
posted by snarfois at 1:02 PM on November 23, 2018

Longshot, but could it be Requiem for A Princess, by Ruth M Arthur? Only one child featured but she does restore an old garden.
posted by ninazer0 at 2:08 PM on November 23, 2018

I'm pretty sure it involves a group of children (as is typical of so many Enid Blyton stories), which also rules out The Secret Garden. They bond around the act of restoring the garden, culminating in a tea party in the restored gazebo (or similar structure).
posted by snarfois at 2:30 PM on November 23, 2018

Hello, as soon as I read your description I was sure I read it as a child. I had heaps of Enid Blyton books that my gran bought me at various jumble sales and which I would read when I stayed with her. Trying to think what it was titled, I could even smell the old glue of the binding, the cigarette smoke and pot pourri of my grandmother's tiny bungalow and hear the low rumble of morning local radio as she pretended not to know that I had woken up and was lazing around reading. The memory made me both very sad and very happy because she died when I was 11 and I miss her to this day.

I think the book you're after is called The Treasure Hunters, and it's one of the more obscure ones. If you want to check, here is a link to the Google Books extract

Here is a review/synopsis that might help too.
posted by finisterre at 10:00 AM on November 24, 2018 [5 favorites]

OK, finisterre, that may be the saddest book recommendation I have read in a while. ;( Seriously though, thank you for sharing such a sweet and universal memory. I immediately had flashbacks to my childhoold in late 1970s Surrey (West Byfleet) reading many of those same books, and evoking many of those same sense-memories. Also, I am pretty sure I did not read "The Treasure Hunters", so now I will try to track it down.

Loved Enid Blyton, although sometimes I felt the need to hide her books behind the WWII comics popular in the UK at the time, because 10-year-old me thought they were too girly and I didn't want to have to explain to my very traditional parents. I am so glad the next 40 years have brought me a little more wisdom about these things.
posted by seasparrow at 3:06 PM on November 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

Ah, finisterre! ‘The Treasure Hunters’ - of course! You may not have solved the mystery for seasparrow, but you’ve certainly cleared one up for me. Seriously, I’ve been wracking my brain for this particular title for years.

Thank you so much!
posted by tuckshopdilettante at 10:21 AM on November 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

That's it! Thank you so much, finisterre. You also encapsulated the reason I wanted to find this again. It's not necessarily a signifcant work, but I read it at a certain age in a certain place that are both long gone, and it created a vivid mental picture that stayed with me. I recognised the sentences on the first page of the extract immediately.
posted by snarfois at 1:33 AM on November 26, 2018

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