12 July 2009

Petersham House and garden

Petersham House is another one of the local gardens that I was able to visit recently under the National Garden Scheme.

The house is one of the small cluster of grand buildings that are clustered around the sharp bend in Petersham Road, which is still known as Tommy Steele Corner as he used to live there.

Some of the other local houses have a white rendered finish (e.g. Petersham Lodge and Reston Lodge) but the solid Georgian brick of Petersham House is common locally and can also be seen at places like Montrose House and Rutland Lodge.

Despite it's obvious grandeur, Petersham House looks rather unremarkable, possibly because when compared to the company that it keeps locally it is unremarkable, but I do like the garden room that is clearly a more recent addition.

However, I was not there to see the house but to explore the garden.

The shape of the garden hints at a history of acquisition and disposition that has produced an odd shaped garden squeezed in between Petersham Road and Petersham Nurseries.

Two corners on Petersham Road have been given over to other houses to make a garden that is surprisingly wide given the size of the frontage on the main road.

More of the garden has been sacrificed to the nursery and alongside this is a long border that was once a main route to the house. A large gate proclaims this past use but now it just leads to more garden.

The border along this former approach is the main feature of the whole garden. It stretches for some 50m and provides a stunning vista of mixed plants set off by the hedge behind them.

At the far end there is a bench where you can sit and enjoy the view along the full length of the border, through the gate, across the lawn and back to the house.

The rear garden is walled, as you would expect, and has a border all around it. This border is broken up into sections, by hedges grown perpendicular to the wall, and each section is planted slightly differently.

The long section of the wall facing the house also faces South. This makes it ideal for flowers which add wonderful spots of colour.

The lawn itself is decorated by a few bushes (seen in the photo of the house above) and an intriguing Antony Gormley like statue that looks a little lost amongst the greenery and the old buildings.

Overall though, these merely distract you from the borders who are confident that they are the most interesting thing in the garden.

One of the results of the odd shaped garden is that there is amble space for a large vegetable garden out of direct site of the house.

In fact it all but backs on to Rutland Lodge which is on the bend in Petersham Road.

I usually like vegetable gardens because of the lack of pretension there (i.e. they are clearly designed for their purpose rather than to please) and this one is no different in that respect. But it stands out from most other gardens due to the well worn brick path and the collection of large pots.

The lean-to shed full of tools has industrial chic too.

Petersham House does not have the most luxurious or interesting garden that I have been to recently but there is still plenty there to make it well worth a visit.


  1. Many thanks for the virtual visit, Matthew. Just before I left, I used to wander off down to Richmond or even as far as Kingston. I passed Petersham House a few times, admired it, and wondered, what it was like ... How lovely to have one's curiosity at least partially satisfied.

  2. Is it possible to see Petersham House inside?

    1. I've only been in bit of it (http://hamlife.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/halloween-banquet-at-petersham-house.html) but the house has appeared in a few magazine features which you can find fairly easily on google, e.g. http://trouvais.com//?s=petersham&search=Go


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