The Palm Centre ticks several boxes when it comes to finding interesting independent nurseries. Not only are they a high quality specialist nursery and the home of a national collection, but they are located in a fabulous and unique setting, making it a nursery that all keen gardeners must visit. The Nursery was founded in 1991 by Martin Gibbons, a collector and traveller who is now regarded as one the UK’s leading expert on palms.
With a name like The Palm Centre you’d be forgiven for thinking that this specialist nursery only grows palms, but far from it. It also offers an extensive range of ferns, grasses, bamboos, treeferns, cycads, bananas and a hugh selection of herbaceous trees. However the palms are the main feature and the nursery holds the National Collection of Trachycarpus palms so this really is the place to come for expert advice from the knowledgeable staff on all aspects of choosing and growing exotic plants. Although some palms require warm conditions some varieties are hardier than people think and can tolerate temperatures as low as 5F (-15 C).
The nursery started in Stockwell and in 1999 they took over the 5 acres walled kitchen garden in the grounds of Ham House, just a short distance from one of the most picturesque stretches of the River Thames. Now owned by the National Trust, Ham House is one the countries most impressive 17th century Stuart mansions. The extensive formal gardens have changed little since this time and include a celebrated Cherry Garden and a formal listed avenue of over 250 trees.
If you are staying in London make sure you allow time for a visit to The Palm Centre. It’s easily accessible by car, tube, train and bus. In the summer you can hop on one of the many River boats to Richmond and take a stroll along the river bank to The Palm Centre. You can easily combine a visit to other national attractions such as the nearby Kew Gardens, Syon House and the magnificent and historic Hampton Court Palace. Bring a picnic with you and you have the perfect ingredients for a great day out.
Their new attractive website, with lots of images, makes online shopping easy if you can’t visit in person.