Last Sunday morning we drove out of London via this garden in Muswell Hill. St Regis is a cul de sac and number 5 is tucked away in the corner. Described in the book as an Artist’s garden and Maureen Lipman’s favourite we could only be encouraged by the words ‘A unique experience awaits!’
A small chatty queue had already formed but we were kept amused by the colourful bunting and the astro turfed front lawn.
Time to read those new little NGS notices planted so effectively in the ivy.
Then we spotted this one on the wall. Familiar faces appeared; members of the film crew. It was the same team we had met at 51 The Chase, the last garden we visited last Tuesday. They recognised us. Did they think we were stalking them?
Nipping down the side of the house we began to follow the path taking us into the garden.
In just the first few steps we found plenty to see. A wonderful fireplace set in the hedge; cleverly complementing the planting of lonicera nitida ‘baggesen’s gold and heuchera and tulips.
An oriental pagoda is set into the purple cotinus coggygria, wisteria and a variety of succulents arranged at the base.
Then round the corner we came across the film producer and the charming interviewer. This time in pink and we greet each other like long lost friends. ” Can we do that again” said the producer. Acting not being my forte I reluctantly agreed and we greeted each other once again. The interviewer is a natural; it is no wonder as I discover she is Miranda Hart’s mother.
Having dispensed with the retake we continued our tour. Meanwhile other visitors were already enjoying a cuppa under the dripping willow tree.
There are several mirrors strategically placed around the garden. One of a pair either side of the shed is guarded by ravens. A symbol of good luck or has someone been to the Tower?
This mirror cunningly hides all those bits you don’t want visitors to find,
And these large wall mirrors broaden the space.
Across the lawn there is a ghostly figure standing in the ‘blue marbled’ temple.
On closer inspection I wonder if she is trying to tell me something or is it a wardrobe malfunction?
It is not just the ornaments that provide a spectacle; the planting everywhere is exuberant with not a bare patch to be seen. This neatly edged border is an explosion of that favourite mix of tulips, wall flower and forget-me-not.
Hostas fire up out of antique chimney pots.
and there are plenty more in the medley of containers arranged on the terrace in front of the studio.
The garden owner is a masterful potter. Her studio is open and we cannot resist a purchase. Walking through the studio and out the other side we find the plant sales. Such a popular feature in many NGS gardens, and no exception here. I covet a giant echium only to be devastated as it is snatched away before my eyes.
The place is positively packed with plants. Propagated in this greenhouse, or should it be called a redhouse.
Hiding this industrial area is a colourful wall, with a circular mirror set within.
Another mirror gives the impression of a path continuing on through the gate.
An oriental house conveniently fits the corner and provides a welcome place to sit.
The red and oriental theme carries on over the small bridge.
Fork and Fish appear in a softening patch of geranium.
We spy a cameraman spiralling down from the roof of the studio.
Retracing our steps we leave the other visitors who, out in their numbers, appear to be really having fun.
Pausing a minute by this clematis I wonder if it is the colour from this flower that has inspired the potter’s hand.
The same colours are reflected in the pot that I have bought and I am pleased to take home a tangible memory of my visit. The studio is central to this unique garden, but it is not the only aspect. Ornament and artistry is woven naturally into the beautiful planting. It was my second London garden and so utterly different from the first. Have I still not learnt that no two gardens are ever the same. That of course is the joy of garden visiting.