A green-fingered dad says he has “no need” to take overseas holidays after creating an incredible “jungle” in his back garden – in Yorkshire.
Kris Swaine, 41, was snapped beneath the shade of his 45ft (14m) eucalyptus trees in his suburban paradise as he basked in temperatures of 25C over the weekend.
The dad-of-four started his amazing horticultural project around five years ago after picking up a small hardy banana plant from his local garden center.
He went on to transform his 165ft by 30ft grassy plot at the back of his semi-detached home, in Wakefield, West Yorks., with dozens of palms and bamboo.
And he even has an incredible “chocolate vine,” which smells just like cocoa, along with a wooden footbridge that sits above a tumbling rock waterfall.
Kris, who loves to entertain family and friends in his “jungle hut,” now says he doesn’t need to jet off for breaks as he enjoys the fruits of his labor in Blighty.
He said: “When you’re sitting in the jungle hut area surrounded by all the bamboo and grasses, it does feel like you’re on holiday – or in a much warmer climate.
“There’s been no need in recent years to go overseas when you’ve got all the tropical plants and palm trees around us.
“And when we have nice weather, it does feel like you’re on holiday in the garden.”
Kris, who works for his local council, said he purchased his property in 2013 with his wife specifically for its North-West facing garden, which backs onto farmland.
He then started on his project by taking away two greenhouses and a shed at the end of the property, before laying down 30 tons of grit and topsoil.
And once the land was fertile, he planted it with hundreds of different types of flora that are more usually found in the jungles of Borneo.
He said: “It started with picking up a small hardy banana plant from the local garden center and looking for unusual, exotic-looking plants that might grow outside.
“I did draw out a plan for what I wanted the garden to look like – even before we started clearing it and thinking about designing it properly.
“And then over the next four or five years, I went ahead and made the garden to that plan.
“I’ve changed it a bit over the last 10 years, but pretty much stuck to the original idea of having a long exotic jungle garden.”
Kris said he liked to challenge himself by sowing plant seeds that might struggle in Britain – battered by rain and ice.
And he was particularly proud of some of the towering tropical trees that he had managed to grow from tiny sprigs.
He said: “We’ve got some large eucalyptus trees at the bottom of the garden which has grown from little seedlings to towering trees as tall as the house now.
“We’ve also got lots of palm trees – including quite a large Chilean Wine Palm in the center of the garden.
“But at the moment, one of the most interesting plants is the chocolate vine over the archway.
“It’s not related to chocolate at all, it just smells like chocolate. It has some really unusual blue-ish purple fruits at this time of the year.”
Kris said up to 400 people come to visit his garden when he opens it up to the public during the summer.
And he said his neighbors were supportive of his green-fingered hobby, despite having different tastes in garden design.
He added: “I get on well with the neighbors. Obviously, we’ve got very different tastes in how we have our back gardens.
“Ours is very different from traditional lawns and borders, so it’s a bit of a contrast to next door.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
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