Colour and drama on Dalgety

• Pip Thomson is opening her garden to the public for Open Gardens on November 30 and December 1.

• Pip Thomson is opening her garden to the public for Open Gardens on November 30 and December 1.

PIP THOMSON has always enjoyed gardening, but after retiring from a distinguished career in the law, it turned into an all-consuming passion.

Over the past decade she has totally “renovated” her family’s quarter-acre block in East Fremantle’s leafy Dalgety Street into a riot of colourful cottage plants, unusual exotics (including a number of uncommon datura, or angels’ trumpet) and deep oases of shade from the many trees, which include a majestic gum.

Though the London plane over the pool did raise eyebrows.

“People say I’m nuts planting a tree like that near a pool but it’s beautiful shade in summer,” Ms Thomson says, adding, “you shouldn’t be gardening if you can’t deal with [leaf] mess.”

Although it does help to have a husband who’s obsessive about keeping leaves out of the pool and who is a dab hand with the leaf-collector.

The lush garden doesn’t rely solely on flowers for colour with plenty of variegated plants, some with stunning red leaves, others cream and white.

Elements of Ms Thomson’s childhood, spent on a WA farm, can also be seen on the property, stretching right from the front—with a farm-style fence and gate rather than limestone blocks or picket fence littered throughout the town—to the deep homestead verandah, lined with plants and baskets, to the chooks behind the shed right down the back.

On November 30 and December 1 from 10am to 4.30pm Pip’s Garden will open to the public as part of the Open Gardens program.

Entry is $7 (kids free) with proceeds to a local homeless women’s shelter and Aboriginal advocacy organisation.

There will be morning and afternoon teas available, with the jam for the Devonshire teas made from 7kg of strawberries that Ms Thomson harvested and processed by hand.

A phalanx of friends has been dragooned to help serve drinks, cakes and slices over the two days.

Disclaimer: Pip Thomson is co-owner of the Herald.


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