When we heard about Nick Wilson’s hardy exotic garden via a feature on Gardener’s Question Time a couple of weeks ago we were intrigued, here is someone who has created their dream garden – some would say against the odds – why? because Nick Wilson has created an incredible jungle garden in Leeds!
Now as we all know, Leeds is pretty far north and has a much colder climate than the relatively mild micro-climates of the Cornish gardens that inspired him to grow this garden. Un-deterred, Nick went on to create an amazing tropical paradise out of his standard 85 x 35ft plot and it is positively thriving in the north England climate as can be seen from these glorious lush images taken this summer 2014.
How Hardy are Hardy Exotics?
Here at Paramount Plants we’ve been specialising in tropical plants and hardy palms for many years and we’re often asked just how hardy are hardy palms in the UK? We sell our palms right across the country confident that they will withstand temperatures well below freezing, the trick is in the choice of plants. So we were delighted to hear about Nick Wilson’s garden, living proof of how accommodating many of these exotic plants are, when given the best growing conditions and by choosing the right plants.
Designing a Jungle Garden
The clever design of this garden is firstly in the use of evergreen screening to shield and protect the ‘inner’ garden as much as possible, the use of multiple levels with plenty of walkways and paths to explore the various ‘rooms’ within the garden, there is even an overhead walkway and elevated ‘Jungle Lodge’ to access aerial views of the garden.
Choosing the Right Plants.
Nick has planted sumptuous hardy palms, large leafed exotics such as Fatsia Japonica and Tetrapanax with the enormous leaves of the Gunnera Manicata which really add to the jungly feel. The overhead canopy of crown lifted trees are accentuated by the spiky leaves of Cordylines and the gentle rustling of bamboo.
One of Nick’s favourites is the Chusan palm – Trachycarpus Fortuneii, easy to grow, with large fan shaped leaves atop a tall hairy trunk – almost a case of plant it and forget about it.
Every jungle garden needs to have the serenity of water and here we have two ponds, the lower pond and a raised deck with seating overlooking the upper pond and both are just teaming with beautiful koi carp and how large they have grown in these idyllic surroundings.
Nick has created a complex garden design with so many wonderful focal points, one of his ploys to create vibrant colour accents in the garden is to strategically plant a small selection of indoor plants in the scheme. These are specifically chosen for their brightly coloured, decorative, foliage and they perform throughout the summer. Once the autumn arrives, these are lifted and taken inside during the colder months and where necessary replenished again next summer – much in the same way other gardeners budget for bedding plants each year.
Creating this heavenly garden has taken Nick over 20 years and alongside the recognition he is receiving from the gardening press, it is now also possible to visit his garden, which is open each year to the public via the National Garden Scheme
We’d like to thank Nick Wilson for his co-operation and for providing such stunning images for this blog.
If you would like to create a tropical / jungle garden – please contact us at Paramount Plants in North London [email protected] we’re open 7 days a week!
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