Another businessman, George French, appeared on the scene in 1798, importing seeds from London for sale in nearby Fredericksburg. The competition in the Richmond & Fredericksburg area may have nudged Peter Bellet to look for a more permanent & lucrative base of operation.
Apparently, on one of his trips to Richmond, Bellet ventured east to Williamsburg &found the quiet of its ordered streets & gardens a great relief from the mud & hassle of Philadelphia Baltimore. In late 1793, he dissolved his partnership in Philadelphia & moved to a 5-acre plot in Williamsburg.
After Peter Bellet settled in Williamsburg, he immediately expanded his stock & began referring to himself as a nurseryman, & from that point on, he ceased proposing to lay out &tend the gardens of others. In the winter of 1799, he advertised from his property on Gallows Street, now known as Capitol Landing Road, that he was still selling imported flower bulbs.
Bellet quickly fit into the Williamsburg community. Local gardener Joseph Prentis was one of his early customers. Prentis’s brother-in-law, Peter Bowdoin wrote from his plantation, Hungars, asking him to purchase plants for a friend at Bellets nursery & offering to expedite the transaction: “My boat will go to the Capital Landing for the purpose of bringing a number of Trees from Bellets.” Bowdoin also asked Prentis to give him plants from his personal garden but added, “if you have not as many to spare as will make fine beds, supply the deficiency from Bellets.”