Whether you’re commissioning a bespoke garden for your house or just after a pot of basil for your kitchen windowsill, Clifton Nurseries have got all the angles covered.
Hidden behind the blandly elegant white stucco houses of Little Venice, the nursery is a haven for horticultural shoppers, offering a comprehensive portfolio of services – from irrigation systems to ‘Assisted DIY’ garden maintenance, flower arrangements and even a plant storage facility (for when you’ve got the builders in). And it’s no johnny-come-lately either, tracing its origins as a ‘nursery ground’ as far back as 1851; its enterprising owner in the late 1800s did a roaring trade hiring plants out to London’s hotels, theatres and, later, film studios. However by the late 1970s Clifton was facing an uncertain future until Lord Jacob Rothschild bought the nursery in 1979. Since then the nurseries’ historic premises have been graced by an award-winning shop building (designed by Jeremy Dixon) and a new Palm House, built in the spirit of a predecessor on the site. In recent years the nursery’s horticultural expertise has also been awarded five Gold Medals from Chelsea Flower Show .
For all the impressive architecture, this is still a great place to buy plants – the Palm House is home to an eclectic stock of indoor plants including fragrant gardenia, jungly palms and ferns, cacti and carnivorous plants as well as some flamboyant imitation blooms. Outside, the main plant display area caters for city gardeners with grasses and evergreens, topiary, seasonal herbaceous plants, bulbs and herbs. If they don’t have what you’re looking for, the nursery can order it for you and also offer advice on the right plant for the right place.
In summer the glass-topped arcade that extends out from the palm house shelters a colourful mass of bedding plants, including deluxe hanging baskets, and is also home to a luxuriant grape vine, whose edible fruits dangle temptingly at harvest time. For those in search of containers, there’s a comprehensive selection of pots from sturdy frost-proof salt-glazed ceramics to classic wooden Versailles planters and trendy zinc tubs. Lifestyle needs are further addressed in the shop, which deals with the furnishings, cushions and candles side of gardening, as well as nitty-gritty gardeners’ fare like composts, tomato feed, tools and seeds. An on-site café with outside seating completes the set up.
5A Clifton Villas, Little Venice, W9 2PH
www.clifton.co.uk T: 020 7289 6851
Open: Mon-Sat 9.00-18.00 (Apr-Oct),
Mon-Sat 8.30 to 17.30 (Nov-Mar),
every Sun (except Easter) 11.00-17.00