21 May 2011

Petersham House

Petersham House is one of the local houses that opens its gardens to the public occasionally to raise money for charity as part of the National Gardens Schemes.

Entrance to the house is via Petersham Nurseries, which is convenient as the same people own both.

Petersham House is more like a family home than some other gardens that I visit and it lacks the flamboyant centrepieces that are designed to wow visitors.

The lone exception is a statue which is subtle, subdued and placed in a quiet corner of the lawn.

The main feature of the garden is the long herbaceous border that forms a corridor alongside the nursery. Here an uneven hedge provides the backdrop to a riot of colour and a jumble of shapes.

The effect is almost of a wild meadow but I am sure that there is more planing and design involved than the gardener would have us believe.

The only disappointment is that the long flowery corridor does not lead anywhere. There is a seat at the end where you can rest and enjoy the view back to the house but the only way back to the main part of the garden is the way that you came.

The house that greets you there is fairly typical of the area that was once home to hunting lodges for the nobility who could spend in time in what was then the country and hunt deer in Richmond Park.

It has been extended since them sympathetically if not quite in keeping with the original house and the garden has changed with the times too.

The formal lawn is decorated with sculptured hedges that break up the flat bland greenery of the grass quite nicely without attracting to much attention to themselves.

Petersham House does not have the most spectacular garden but it is pretty enough and is just a short cycle ride away so it's an obvious and pleasant trip to make.

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