This blog is bursting with blooms lately. If you came looking for the gritty, grimy side of London, you’ll have to wait for another post because this week I’m bringing you to the beautiful Petersham Nurseries in Richmond.
Jorge suggested a visit while my parents were here from New York last week. None of us had been before. We were dropped off near the entrance by a pathway lined with English hedgerows running alongside an old church and a cemetery. You know how much I enjoy walking through cemeteries, so of course we popped in for a look at some of the old gravestones from the 1800s and earlier.
As we rounded the corner, we come upon a horse grazing in the sun, alone in an empty field enclosed with a ragged old wooden rail fence. And at the entrance to Petersham Nurseries, our first sight was of a cart refurbished with what looked like bike tires. It was packed full with flowers and set the tone for the rest of our visit.
First stop: the garden shop. Leafy vines wound across the ceiling of the greenhouse. Around us was industrial lighting, shelves full of soap with pretty packaging, stacks of expensive pots, and a variety of garden accents.
There were small white posts full of succulents that would look amazing with the little plant collection I have on my desk. There were notecards, bottles of hand wash and bath soap and posh candles. There were vintage french window boxes, antiqued gold drums and cast iron pedestal urns. If I could have taken anything home with me, it might have been those big blue pots a few photos below …
I optimistically tried to book a table for their famed, award-winning cafe that was once run by chef and Vogue food editor Skye Gyngell, now by Damian Clisby, previously head chef at HIX Soho and Cotswold House. Of course, they were booked out for many weeks, but I popped my nose in to have a look anyway. Next time!
Some of Jorge’s favourites were the big round mirrors, two pictures above). I loved the big convex mirrors in the image two below as well and the way everything looked a bit rustic and worn (though it was obviously well-planned out and not cheap). I could probably live there for a while…
We ventured outside after that, through the other greenhouses with their wood-framed, dry water-streaked windows propped open to the sun. And it was a beautiful, no-coat day after all – one of few this year so far! We wandered among the lush plants, Jorge noting a few that could use a bit of water, and made sure to stop and smell the roses.
In one of the greenhouses, there was a private little lunch party happening – not a bad location for that! There were rose bushes around the edges, coiled yellow hoses and old crates full of pots ready to take home. Rustic-chic trellises stretched over the dusty pathways and new blossoms stretched toward the sun.
I loved the intricately carved old door frame with its multiple layers of peeling paint that led into the teahouse, another place to grab a bite to eat that’s less formal. It was empty because everyone who chose to eat the food served up in the teahouse – self-service on heavy wooden trays – headed outdoors to take advantage of the unusually inviting weather and the many tables scattered around among the plants.
Across from the main shop with all of the pots and garden decor was a second greenhouse shop where the more practical gardening items are sold: the seeds, the soil, the spades, the trowels, the pruning shears the gloves, the wellies, the watering cans, etc.
They also had an area nearby for shady plants (very useful for our garden which only sees a tiny patch of sun each day) and crates full of cacti begging to be planted up into a terrarium.
There’s also a cute nursery cat who was fast asleep in a corner on top of a pile of green bags of peat-free wool compost for seeds. We wandered around to find a table for lunch after that, settled in, grabbed some of those heavy wooden trays and went to check out the cold salads and cakes.
Polly the Traveling Birdhouse came along, as you’ll see in the photo above. We piled plates full of salads with fresh tomatoes and greens, wild black rice with chicken, cod croquettes and a big pot of tea to go with the few varieties of cake we tried. It was all very tasty.
And then we were off, back toward the entrance where I stopped to admire some bouquets of British wildflowers before we headed out down the path to the main road again, past the horse, past a leafy tunnel path, past parked bikes and the sign to the dry route during the flood and a wooden fence railing that dislodged mysteriously as we walked past and fell to the ground.
From there, we went to Richmond Park to take a walk through the Isabella Plantation, but let’s leave that for another post!
- Bad Brownie are seriously my fave when I visit Duke of York Market. Thrilled to see they’re selling through NOTHS now too. Salted caramel. Triple chocolate. Peanut butter. Yum.
- Everlane has international shipping for two weeks. I’ll take this and this!
- How cool are these for a summer dinner party?
- For some New York style comfort food – always welcome.
- My best selling photography print!
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