If you look the right way, you can see the whole world is a garden.
~ Mary Lennox

Mary Lennox is the main protagonist of Frances Hodgson Burnett's 1911 novel The Secret Garden, the film adaptations, and the musical.

The Secret Garden

Mary Lennox is a sour faced ten-year-old girl who was born and raised by spoiled British parents in India. Spoiled, rude, and temperamental, she has been tended to by servants because her parents never wanted her.

One day, her parents are killed by a cholera epidemic (in the movie's case, an earthquake) and Mary is sent away to live with her uncle Archibald Craven in Misselthwaite Manor in Yorkshire, England, which is tended by the strict housekeeper, Mrs. Medlock. Mary starts out in her usual bad ways, not liking the house, and Mrs. Medlock forbids her to go exploring. It takes a while for Mary to learn that there is a magnificent garden next door to the house. Lord Craven has kept the garden a secret because of the death of his wife Lilias, who had died ten years prior after an accident in the garden. Thanks to a robin that lives in the secret garden, Mary finds the key to the secret garden.

She makes friends with Martha Sowerby, the maid, and her twelve-year-old brother Dickon, who cares for the animals. Mary notices crying in the house and discovers that it's her bedridden cousin, Colin, who is troubled by the death of his mother and has a problem with his spine. She discovers that he is as spoiled and mean as she was but instead of mistreating him, Mary takes Colin into the garden where, with Dickon, they befriend Ben Weatherstaff, the gardener, and rise above their pain. Lord Craven discovers them and is surprised and happy to see the children together. As for Mary, she grows into a strong and caring girl.


  • Mary Lennox is played by Kate Maberly in the 1993 film.
  • She is also voiced by Anndi McAffee in the 1994 film.
  • She is one of the most unpredictable female protagonists and one of those who learn from her actions and grow and mature throughout the story.
  • Mary is a mezzo-soprano in the 1991 musical, originally played by Daisy Egan at the age of 11, making her the youngest actress to win a Tony.
  • In the book, Mary is related to Archibald and Colin via her father Captain Lennox (known as Albert in the 1991 musical and Major Lennox in the 1993 film) (who was the brother of Archibald's wife/Colin's mother Lilias) whilst in the 1991 musical and 1993 film, They are related via her mother (named as Rose in the musical) (who is portrayed as being Lilias' (Lily in the musical) twin sister).
    • In the 1987 television adaptation, Mary is not related to Archibald and Colin with the former being instead a family friend of Mary's parents. At the end of the film, an adult Mary reunites with Colin, who proposes to her to which she accepts.
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