My work takes me to to all sorts of interesting and unusual places. Although not all could be classed as pleasant, yesterday’s visit to Petersham Nurseries, near Richmond Upon Thames, was more than enough to lift the spirits.
The nurseries, in the grounds of the Petersham House Estate, have become famous for their Michelin starred cafe. They have also established themselves as something of a style destination for those in search of unusual, vintage and antique garden gifts. Whilst Petersham is several cuts above your average garden centre, it is still very much about the plants. What sets it apart is the way the plants are staged, on slate-topped tables, in vintage apple crates and on quirky wheeled barrows. Every view in the nursery is beautifully contrived, creating a photographer’s paradise. Deliciously perfumed Trachelospermum drips from the roof of the glasshouses, Erigeron karvinskianus cascades from lead urns, and pots of lavendar attract big, drowsy bumble bees. I was particularly charmed by a crate of perfumed minature roses nestling at the centre of a group of hand thrown pitchers.
Elsewhere, a demonstration border of colourful annuals was bursting in to life, aided by the all too frequent showers.
Had I not had a full day’s work ahead of me, I’d have bought much more than the little silver leaved Athyrium fern, chosen as a gift for my uncle. I’d like to think that if I ever had the fortune to set up a nursery and garden shop of my own it would be like this – a little bit posh, but a lovely place to be, come rain or shine.