Petersham Nurseries is one of those places that is good for the soul. It is all about beauty and style, both outside and inside.
It's a half hour drive from my home which takes me across Richmond Park, another place that lifts the spirits. It's hard to believe that you are in London when in the middle of the park surrounded by trees, bracken and deer.
We've had the wettest July on record and August has been much the same - it's rained nearly every day and temperatures have been way below the average. There is now a distinct autumnal feel in the air despite being mid summer. It's SO depressing and makes one want to emigrate. Apparently this type of July/Aug weather happens every 11 years. Remind me not to be in London for the next occurrence!
I met a friend at Petersham on Tuesday for coffee, a wander and lunch. The skies were grey and threatening more rain (there had been heavy rain overnight) and it was quite chilly. However Petersham is beautiful in any weather though it's advisable to wear wellies or old shoes!
You are greeted at the entrance by the wagon which is always laden and styled with flowering plants.
First stop is a coffee and slice of cake from the cafe. It was too cold to sit outside so we sat in the main glasshouse which they recently rebuilt and replaced the earth floor with terracotta tiles. It's such a shame as the earth floor was so much nicer and it soaked up a lot of the noise.
There are always gorgeous vases of flowers from the cutting garden strategically placed around the complex including in the loos where there was a vase of zinnias. And I love the bowl of Sicilian lemons that always features in the main restaurant.
The cutting garden is one of my favourite haunts. The roses bowed their heads from the weight of last night's rain.
The dahlias were glorious and held their heads high against the weight of the water.
The sweet peas were past their best but still popping up to add delicate colour and texture.
The plant nursery was a sea of purple, red, orange, yellow and blue.
It's not always about colour - the greens, whites and soft pinks are definitely worth a mention. The first image is one of a pair of crabapples that grow either side of the entrance to the main glasshouse. Imagine the sea of red once the fruit ripens!
The highlight of my visits is always the beautifully styled shop where I usually succumb to the temptation to buy something.
I can happily spend four or five hours at Petersham and never get bored. It's a veritable feast of all the senses.
Did you know that they have recently opened another Petersham Nurseries in central London, Covent Garden to be precise? I'm off to see it tomorrow so watch this space for more Petersham "spam" !