One of the greenest cities in the world, London also has its fair share of independent garden centres and plant shops.
Alexandra Nurseries, in South London’s Penge, tucked away from the high street may well be small in size – offering a small garden centre, a cafe and a gift shop – but it is a powerful player within the local community, championing sustainability.
With its brightly coloured plants and flowers sprawling out onto the pavement on Parish Lane, Alexandra Nurseries is known for supporting local – as well as selling British grown plants, including perennials from Sussex and herbs from Surrey, the gift shop pays homage to independent local craftspeople stocking greetings cards, recycled wood candlesticks, and felted wool notebooks.
Housed in a former caretaker’s lodge from the Victorian era, the quaint and quirky Alexandra Nurseries is a garden centre of curiosities. An old Victorian water caddy, grape-vine terrace, big trolleys, vintage china adorning shelves and wrought-iron furniture and other vintage home and garden wares sit comfortably in this “picturesque alternative to the big commercial garden centre”.
Alexandra Nurseries was set up by gardeners Sarah Garcia and John Parker who rescued the Victorian house which had been derelict since the 1980s. After renovating and decking the space out in an eclectic mix of bits and pieces, the garden centre opened its doors in 2012 and has been a haunt of both locals and visitors from further afield who come to soak up Alexandra Nurseries’ suburban charm.
With experienced gardeners on hand and an all important cafe selling organic treats including light lunch and cakes, Alexandra Nurseries is inviting for all – whether you are a gardening novice, seasoned planter or a green fingered veteran.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea