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The English Garden

“A new book, Petersham Nurseries, traces the development of a business that, with its award-winning cafe and shop selling chic accessories, turned the concept of a garden centre on its head.”

In 1996, Gael and Francesco Boglione, seeking a quieter life and more space, moved with their children from Kensington to Petersham House, an elegant Queen Anne property that had come up for sale. Abutting the garden was a nursery owned by Bob and Annette Collett. Fearing developers, the Bogliones bought the nursery when it came up for sale in 2000, although with little gardening knowledge they had no idea what they would do with it. It continued to run as it was until inspiration struck one day while the family was travelling in India. In Chettinad they were introduced to an antiques dealer and, after a fortnight in Tamil Nadu, Francesco had a 40ft container ready to ship: it was packed with furniture, textiles and ornaments that would be housed in the re-imagined nursery.