Eric Scheid writes about another secret garden:
The scene was a Japanese furniture store, lots of interesting bits and bobs, knicks and knacks. Towards the back, obscured by a rather large cabinet composed of rather small drawers (many of), was a half open door.
Stepping through I found a Japanese style garden nestled in the nook between two buildings. Delightful. Would never have known, since there was no obvious sign posted, not visible from the street, etc.
Curiosity and interest rewarded.
Conjecture: the purpose of secret gardens on the Web is not merely decoration or rhetorical texture. Secret gardens distinguish interior and exterior, inviting a selected (or self-selected audience) to an special space. The secret garden makes community tangible, taking the ephemeral notion of "regular visitors" or "frequent customers" and representing it explicitly in the structure of the site. Powazek's Rule (bury comments and bulletin boards deep in the site to improve the quality of the community) is a special case of secret gardens.