Slow Flowers in the UK: A visit to Petersham Nurseries in Surry
May 25th, 2015
After a harrowing taxi ride (one hour for 12 miles?) from London, my mom and I arrived on Wednesday at Petersham Nurseries. And once we discovered what was inside the gates, we concluded that our 40 pound fare was totally worth it!
We took the journey in order to meet up with Sarah Statham of Simply by Arrangement, an up-until-now virtual flower friend, who had invited us to spend a few days with her in Yorkshire.
She was also in London for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and made the brilliant suggestion that we use Petersham as a meeting place before driving to Hebden Bridge, where she lives and designs flowers (and more on that later!).
Petersham Nurseries dates to the 1970s when it was a local garden center carved out of the Petersham House estate.
After years of neglect, the nursery reopened in 2004 after extensive restorations by Gael & Francesco Boglione, the current owners of Petersham House.
Beautiful garden furniture, gifts, tableware and antiques can now be found amongst the plants which adorn the vintage glass greenhouses.
In a ramshackle wooden teahouse we found delicious pastries and homemade cakes (as well as lunch!).
There is also a popular restaurant to which I would love to return some day.
This is a thoroughly charming destination not far from London.
It has history, an obviously talented team of horticulturists, beautiful plants and that timeless character you can’t get in the U.S.
Sarah planned a huge surprise for us – a private tour of the Petersham House grounds. Her friend Caroline is gardening here as a volunteer, working alongside Rosie, who is the genius behind many of the landscape plantings you see in these images.
Not much more to say than this: Please gaze upon the beauty of a 150-foot-long English garden double-border in May. Few can replicate this, due to lack of time, money, or land – but please feel free to borrow a few ideas for your own patch! And if you will be in London on June 7th, you can visit the private grounds of Petersham House as part of the National Gardening Scheme charitable program.