Living in the city doesn’t always make it easy or convenient to make time for the softening and optimistic presence of nature. The urban landscape can feel so impersonal and unforgiving with hard, unyeielding materials and uncompromising straight lines. So it is always a joy to see an unexpected riot of unrestrained colour tumbling from a window box or the lush green tops of trees softening the rooflines as they reach for the heavens. When given a helping hand even the tightest or least promising patch can be brought to life.
Clifton Nurseries in west London is the perfect place to discover the relaxing properties of plants and objects which soften, enhance and enrich a space whether inside or out. People have been coming here in their droves since 1851, but despite its popularity it still feels as though Clifton is something of a well-kept secret.
Surrounded by some rather grand villas, the nursery is an immaculately kept treasure trove and upon entering the gate one is instantly transported to a calmer, less urban plane. On my visit there wasn’t a dead leaf or a twig in sight; a strong affirmation of the care and attention which the team here lavish on the plants in their care.
For indoors, Clifton’s buyers have curated a selection of linens, furniture, accessories and homewares which one would not feel out of place browsing in Liberty. Colour palette-themed merchandising lends order and calm to tabletops groaning under the weight of timeless glassware, crockery and other embellishments for the home. Tempting pick-me-up items like horticulturally-themed notecards and tins of Nutscene garden twines (produced on the same machinery since 1922) ensure that no one leaves this delightful place empty handed.