I’m talking about the original, tucked away in leafy Petersham, which is just a stroll along the river from leafy, well-heeled Richmond. The Covent Garden branch is undeniably gorgeous, but lacks the magic of the original.
Because there is something magical about hopping on the train (or tube) from the middle of town to Richmond, and then walking along the towpath which meanders alongside the Thames, and then crossing a field fringed with cow parsley and gently waving grasses. At the end, there you find Petersham Nurseries, tucked away like a countryside idyll (okay, an expertly curated and not-at-all-countryside-priced idyll, but an idyll nevertheless), a respite from the hurly-burly of London life.
My top tip? Go first thing in the morning on a weekday if you possibly can. I sometimes drop the children at school and head to Petersham for morning coffee and breakfast. On occasion, I’ve had the place to myself.
The Teahouse is open from 9am, and serves the most delicious cake and lunch from 12pm. For an occasion, the Cafe is the prettiest setting imaginable. And, oh, the cocktails. One thing I would LOVE to do before we leave London is go to one of their candlelit supperclubs.
It’s also my primary source of garden inspiration. This weekend, Alex and I spent a happy few minutes exchanging pictures of our flowers (as opposed to our outfits). Obviously, as a country dweller, her plot far outstrips mine (she has a rose bush which is probably the same size as my entire garden), but we’re both discovering the joy of a garden in full bloom.
One thing I’ve picked up at Petersham is that more is more: vats of tulips, huge pots of paperwhites, reams of lavender. My friend, garden designer Joanna Archer always says edit and repeat i.e feature more of less.
I must add the the shop is deeply, deeply dangerous. So. Much. Temptation. (None of which comes cheap, but the styling is unparalleled.)
Getting there: Petersham Nurseries, Church Lane, Petersham, TW10. District line (TFL) or direct train from London Waterloo. From the station, it’s a 20-minute stroll along the river – or hop on the 65 bus, alighting at The Dysart.