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Dick helps bring tropics to Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 08:21 16 April 2009 | UPDATED: 15:11 07 July 2010

SOME people thinking about retirement dream about travelling the world, but one former civil servant is helping to bring the tropics to Norfolk.

Dick Staward, who advised in intellectual property protection for different plant varieties before he retired, has turned over a new leaf by setting up Palm Farm, a Dereham-based garden centre that specialises in palm trees and exotic plants, with business partner Jan Beckwith, a trained homeopath who lives in Carbrooke.

SOME people thinking about retirement dream about travelling the world, but one former civil servant is helping to bring the tropics to Norfolk.

Dick Staward, who advised in intellectual property protection for different plant varieties before he retired, has turned over a new leaf by setting up Palm Farm, a Dereham-based garden centre that specialises in palm trees and exotic plants, with business partner Jan Beckwith, a trained homeopath who lives in Carbrooke.

The pair were inspired by Mrs Beckwith's husband Andy, a former accountant, who has been growing palm trees as a hobby for a number of years.

After months of preparation, Palm Farm, which is based on Shipdham Road, opened last week. It stocks hundreds of palm trees and exotic plants such as banana trees, yuccas and bulbs from across the world.

Managing director Mr Staward, who lives near Newmarket, said they had already received a lot of interest and that he believed there was a growing trend in people looking to include more unusual and exotic species in their gardens.

He said: “The recession is hitting people's pockets. But while they are tending to avoid spending big money on holidays, they are looking more at improving what they have at home - and palm trees can help them add a touch of the exotic to their homes.”

He added: “From what started as a hobby we have now launched an exciting new business which will give local people a tropical paradise right on their doorstep.”

For more information, visit www.palmfarmonline.com

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