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Petersham Nurseries

Petersham Nurseries by the Boglione family – Book Review

A lavish and stunningly photographed history of 20 years of the iconic Richmond nursery, run by a family committed to nature and positive living. Reviewer Lia Leendertz is a food and garden writer.

by the Boglione family
Petersham Nurseries, £65
ISBN 978-1838293109

This book, written by the family that owns and runs Petersham Nurseries, is as sumptuous and beautiful as you would expect if you have ever visited. The nursery has become known for its glorious shabby-chic style and its seasonal food – its restaurant was started by Australian chef Skye Gyngell – as much as it is for its plants.

The bulk of the book tells the story of the nursery’s development from a run-down garden centre bordering the Bogliones’ garden, acquired partly to prevent the land being developed, to the world-renowned business it is today. It discusses the role of each family member, making it in places read like an artfully curated family scrapbook.

The styling of the nursery is gorgeous, and is captured in lavish, moody, atmospheric style by Andrew Montgomery, the perfect photographer for such a subject. Here are old glasshouses hung with chandeliers and dripping with ferns, their artfully mismatched chairs alongside zinc-topped tables groaning with displays of seasonal flowers, and a vase of voluptuously fading tulips, surely captured in the moment before the first petal fell: beautiful food, beautiful plants and beautiful people.

The book is not all history; it is split between the four seasons and interspersed with ideas on how to create a little corner of Petersham chic for yourself. There are pages on creating an obelisk of Petersham-favoured sweet peas, on growing their favourite roses, on creating the beautiful ‘tablescapes’ laid on for special occasions, and on making wild and naturalistic festive wreaths. There are also eight recipes per season, highly seasonal and stunning, to allow the reader to recreate the food from the famous glasshouse restaurant.

There is much to admire at Petersham, and the Bogliones have relished the opportunity to celebrate and mark their 20 years in business in book form.