London can be hectic, frenetic and stressful but few people realise that a short ride on the underground will take you to the fabulous county of Surrey. Visiting Petersham Nurseries is a breath of fresh air - literally. Situated on the edge of Richmond this place is heaven on earth.
If you can't find a gift here then you need therapy
I met with the lovely Charlotte Senn for a guided tour and a cup of coffee. I was like a kid in a sweet shop.
The brain child of Francesco and Gael Boglione an Italian and an Australian these are the most imaginative nurseries I have ever come across. Every single thing I saw I loved from the 80ft long experimental cutting garden that looks like Mother Nature's jewelry box to the deliciously beautiful cakes in The Tea House.
Mother Nature's Jewelry Box
A massive range of Astier de Villatte ceramics
The nurseries are made up of 4 enormously long greenhouses with floors of terracotta coloured fine soil - no vacuuming and washing required. In between these greenhouses are displays of antique garden furniture and amazing plants, flowers and antique pots - all for sale.
A fabulous antique garden bench outside the Cafe's kitchen
Impossible to take a bad photo in this place. Skye Gyngell's - A Year In My Kitchen
Because I visited on Monday the award winning Cafe/Restaurant run by Skye Gyngell was closed so I couldn't sample the food but what a setting. A random collection of antique tables some with zinc tops, which you can buy also, were scattered around the dining area - it was heart stopping stuff as these photos prove.
The reception area of the Cafe/Restaurant - how imaginative is this?
Ensuring you, the diner, always has a fabulous view
Wherever you are sitting
Look the other way and see your food being cooked
Look what I missed (click to enlarge)
If you want lighter refreshments then you can head for The Tea House. Take a look
Make new friends at the long table
Even the cutlery is sitting in garden trugs
Or you can sip your tea and nibble your cakes Al Fresco
If it's crowded you can spill over into another fabulous area
As I said from Mother Nature's jewelry box to deliciously beautiful cakes. I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did and if you want to see more then go to their website which is choc full of fabulous images and information.
Don't rush off just yet, join me on the walk back to the Richmond Station.
We cross a meadow - look at that enormous house over there
A walk along the Thames takes us into the town of Richmond - great shops by the way
The future of Petersham Nurseries is under threat. Up to 29th November 2008 Richmond Council will be monitoring the amount of cars using the lane leading up to the Nurseries. If you visit (and you must) then please arrive by foot, ferry or taxi from Richmond and if it's a taxi you choose then ask them to drop you at the bottom of the lane.
It would be a sin for this place to close because of the traffic. I have no idea why Richmond Council are so opposed to this place and its success but then I never do understand how our councils operate anyway.
If you love what you have seen here and feel strongly about preserving this beautiful place then you can sign the Petition here.