Anyone who has read The Secret Garden will feel that the walled, abandoned and secretly-visited garden is a symbol of great richness and power. TS Eliot obviously felt so: as Ann Thwaite points out in her study of Burnett, he must have been remembering it in Burnt Norton, right down to the roses, the children and the bird who guides the way:
Frances Hodgson Burnett was a keen gardener with a wide knowledge of horticulture, and she took the idea for The Secret Garden in large part from the walled Rose Garden at her home at Maytham Hall, Kent, where she wrote, sitting outside with tuffet, rug and Japanese parasol. ‘It was entered by a low, arched gateway in the wall,’ Burnett wrote of the Maytham garden, ‘closed by a wooden door...and then at every available place, roses were planted to climb up the ancient trunks and over the walls.’
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden. My words echo
Thus, in your mind. But to what purpose
Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves
I do not know. Other echoes
Inhabit the garden. Shall we follow?
Quick, said the bird, find them, find them,
Round the corner. [...]
Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children,
Hidden excitedly, containing laughter.
Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind
Cannot bear very much reality.
Thwaite, Ann: Waiting for the Party: The Life of Frances Hodgson Burnett (1974)