Francesco recalls initially not knowing what to do with the place. Inspired by his youthful travels to India, when as a self-confessed hippy, he bought and sold unusual furniture, paintings, sculptures and decorations as a means of funding his expeditions. He recalls a vision materialising.
Bringing a gentle approach and an ability for drawing out beauty in the simplest of things, Gael’s natural style, elegance and attention to detail was at the heart of the transformation, evolving over the years into the strong ethos maintained today.
In 2004, after extensive restoration works, the nursery re-opened, completely transformed. Furniture, gifts and antiques were found amongst the plants which adorned the greenhouses, and in the most elegant wooden teahouse, whole leaf teas and homemade cakes were offered.
The nurseries became an instinctive mix of Gael’s love and enthusiasm for nature and the earth, mixed with Francesco’s desire to deliver products and services in a peaceful and beautiful setting on the river.
Over the years, Gael and Francesco have steadily nurtured the space, drawing upon their travel experiences and incorporating their Italian and Australian cultures within this English garden setting. They have created a lifestyle destination, reflective of their values, love of food and personal collections within their home.
The family is dedicated to positive living; where ethics meet aesthetics, philosophies which are interwoven in every aspect of the business. This is demonstrated from the way they look after their employees, to what is sold and served. In recent years, Gael and Francesco have encouraged their children, Petersham’s next generation, to step forward, forging a future for the nurseries and Petersham offshoots.