Someone has dug up the private garden in the square and taken buckets of dirt, and Miss Angela Chesney of the Garden Committee is sure that a gang of boys from run-down Catford Street must be to blame. But Angela's sister Olivia isn't so sure. Olivia wonders why the neighborhood children -- the "sparrows" she sometimes watches from the window of her house -- have to be locked out of the garden. Don't they have a right to enjoy the place, too?
But neither Angela nor Olivia has any idea what sent the neighborhood waif Lovejoy Mason and her few friends in search of "good, garden earth." Still less do they imagine where their investigation of the incident will lead them: to a struggling restaurant, a bombed-out church, and at the heart of it all, a hidden garden.