Portraits with Martin Gibbons, founder of The Palm Centre.

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Cat Garcia shot Martin Gibbons, founder of The Palm Centre.

The Palm Centre is set within four acres of the original Kitchen Gardens of Ham House, near Richmond. With its ancient surrounding walls and mix of tropical palms, ferns and grasses, The Palm Centre feels a special and unique place to find so close to London. Martin’s interest in palms started from the gift of a small palm from his brother, which he overwatered and killed within two weeks. But caring for its replacement led to a love, career and lifelong pursuit of palms, travelling the world researching different species. Ultimately, it resulted in The Palm Centre, which started from seeds on a kitchen table in Stockwell, until the nursery opened in 1989 in Richmond.