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  • Ananya Ridenour

Backyard Traveler: HB Central Park - Secret Garden

Each time I venture outside, I try to do something different or at least something that I really enjoy doing. I tend to find new, random things all the time and usually have no idea when I will get to all these things that I want to do. I love to use my “greater” backyard and find activities that are local to me.


Today, I decided to head to one of my local favorite spots, the Secret Garden at the Huntington Beach (HB) Central Park. Many people who visit the park are not even aware of this little secret gem. First of all, I have always loved secret gardens. I think the love of secret gardens originally came from one of my favorite books as a child, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Although it has been many years since I have read that book, the idea of secret gardens has stayed with me throughout the years.


The secret garden in HB Central Park is located a little off the beaten path from the rest of the park, directly behind the library, almost hidden from view. You would not know it was there unless you were looking for it. The garden greets its visitors with cheerful and vibrant sunflowers to beckon anyone to follow the path into the area. Even though the garden is small, it still provides lots of flowers, trees, and birds to gaze at.


I love how the colorful flowers in the front invite people to explore the garden. Once inside, there is a sense of calm and peacefulness. There are handmade bird houses everywhere, all different shapes and sizes. Reminds me of my daughter’s bird house she just made. On the ground, there are painted rocks with different sayings that allude to the magic of the garden. Certain areas are designated as butterfly gardens, to encourage migrating butterflies to take refuge. Butterflies flutter throughout the garden, flying from flower to flower. Hummingbirds also frequent the garden and flit from one flower to another. At the back of the garden, the garden is against a large pond that is covered with green algae in which lots of ducks make their way swimming across it. As the ducks swim, you can briefly see the water underneath the algae before the algae quickly overtakes the disturbed area once again.


I usually stay a while at the pond, watching all the ducks waddle around and swim in the green algae. I laugh at them as their bills are all stained green from being in the algae so much. I find the whole thing silly really, another reason why I like to come to the secret garden, to laugh and smile at all the silly ducks.


As I head towards the exit, I continue on the path, finding a section off to the side that has a canopy of trees with a cleared open area, using tree stumps as seats. Seems like a great area to have a group meeting or just to have a picnic. I have thought about having a picnic there, such a great idea really, just never done it yet. One of those things to do for sure. Or at least add to my list of activities to do.


I eventually wind through the paths and find my way back to where I started. The entrance has now become my exit. The sunflowers instead of greeting me make me feel like it was a good time well spent and the rest of the day will be a good one filled with sunshine and cheer.


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