Kay’s secret garden

Kay Thomson’s beautiful garden. She worked together with Nicholas Wood-Glover, the designer.

Last week my one trip outside the house was when a friend drove me to Muswell Hill to see Kay Thomson’s beautiful garden, open under the National Garden Scheme. I’d met Kay through my friend over a cup of coffee in winter and heard about her garden so was looking forward to this. It had been scorching all week and being gardeners of course we hoped for rain, but not during this afternoon! As luck would have it the rain held off and the temperature was balmy. An extremely tidy side return leads into a long garden divided into sections. But first of all we admired the profusion of flowers on this Trachelospermum jasminoides scrambling on the back wall of the house. And of course we took in the scent which is divine. It must be a good year for this climber as my own has done better than ever, clambering all over an east-facing brick extension right outside my bedroom window.

Trachelospermum jasminoides

A lawned area is surrounded by borders which Kay has planted up to represent astrological colours – reds, greens, whites and blues representing fire, earth, air and water. This red salvia represents fiery Aries, my own sign.

Aries area of the border – red salvia

And the large white valerian below represents air.

Capricorn area – Valerian

Kay has some unusual plants and trees, including this guava tree which I’ve never seen in the UK. If you look closely you can see the purple and white flowers, although Kay says she’s never seen them turn into fruit.

Mature guava tree with blossom

A pergola leads to the pond area.


A quirky feature is this metal boat complete with oars and rope and artful planting.


It leads to this large wildlife pond.  It has a few goldfish but I wonder how long before a heron discovers a tasty meal! At one entrance is a running stream, something I lack in my own pond.

Wildlife pond – lilies in full swing
Babbling brook
Fine specimen of Equisetum

Scattered throughout the garden are some lovely sculptures which are enhanced by the surrounding plants.

Sleeping cat
Cheeky duck

Beyond the pond is a mirror serving to extend the garden.

Clever use of a mirror

And any garden showing under the National Gardens Scheme would not be complete without the statutory tea and cakes.  What a display – worthy of the Women’s Institute!  My friend bought me a raspberry sponge cake and a tea and we sat down at one of the many tables and chairs scattered throughout Kay’s garden.  A real treat of an afternoon – thanks to my friend for taking me.

Tea and cakes

Kay will happily show you her garden by appointment.  Get in touch with her at kaythomson378@gmail.com