Pirates and fairies and ticking crocodiles and little kids with accents flying around in pajamas! The magical Scottish garden and mansion that inspired JM Barrie’s Neverland, with its sloping terraced gardens and gently bubbling river, will be restored to its former glory, the UK Guardian reports today.
Nearly 140 years after Barrie played there as a boy, Moat Brae — a late Georgian villa in the rural town of Dumfries — will be transformed into a new national center for children’s literature. The “derelict and decaying” home and garden were recently saved from demolition by The Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust, Scotland Correspondent Severin Carrell writes. (Sounds like a nice job, eh?) Actress Joanna Lumley, who has a “holiday home” nearby is involved in the effort.
This from the story:
“Cathy Agnew, the trust’s project director, said restoring the garden – now smaller than Barrie would have known it and the target of years of vandalism and fly-dumping – was an essential part of their plans to celebrate its reputation as the birthplace of Peter Pan.”
What the heck is fly-dumping?
Agnew also said the garden will be replanted with shrubs and trees, joining two surviving cedars, a flowering cherry and a tulip tree which flowers “spectacularly” every seven years. (A very patient gardener planted that.) It will also feature a Peter Pan-themed play area. I hope they will create at least a little tacky topiary, something along the lines of this ridiculous crocodile and Captain Hook piece.
And just breathe in this quote about the garden, also from Agnew (obviously a very passionate woman):
“It’s authentic. It’s there for a reason; it’s not just imposing it. Neverland is crucial to it. The house and the garden are inextricably linked, and Neverland will be a learning garden, a teaching garden and playing garden where every plant will tell a story. We will keep as much of the original garden that JM Barrie would’ve known as we can.”
Every plant will tell a story.
I’ll be contemplating that dreamy notion all day.
Family vacation 2015? By then the trust aims to have restored the home for arts and cultural events and themed birthday parties (!). The garden will also feature a performance space. (I wonder what they’ll perform?) And… get this… they want to create a “flat” for children’s writers in residence.
Aspiring children’s writers, ask yourselves: what couldn’t you write in this garden?