A doctor whose fear of flying prevented him from seeing the world grew his own garden ‘jungle’ over 30 years.
Dr Simon Olpin’s Sheffield garden even has 100 foot tall palm trees, bringing a touch of paradise to his corner of Yorkshire.
The 69-year-old spent three decades transforming his garden, the Mirror reports.
The jungle began with just one ‘small pot’ in 1987, a tree that would spark a total transformation.
Dr Olpin moved to his detached Sheffield house from Cambridge and has since filled the 8,000 square foot garden with plants.
The ‘jungle’ is home to more than 100 species of plants, with giant 100-foot palm trees towering over the green space.
The clinical biochemist has been perfecting the jungle over the last 30 years and he says he couldn’t put a cost of the time and money he’s spent turning the ‘blank canvas’ into what it is today.
He said: “I’ve always been interested in animals particularly, when I was a little child. I was fascinated by everything that crept and crawled.
“When we moved to Sheffield I started to develop a more keen interest in exotic plants and we had a small garden which was a blank canvas.
“Over 30 years I’ve managed to bring a place like Bhutan or a bit of southeast Asia to my garden in Yorkshire – it’s brilliant, to me at least.
“I’m afraid of flying and will never get to visit these fascinating places so I’ve brought a bit of them back to my home in Sheffield of all places.”
Dr Olpin’s first tree was an 18-inch Chinese windmill, a plant that he picked up at a university sale in 1987. It now towers 100 feet over the house.
Dr Olpin’s love of plants and wildlife began as a child, but a visit to Cornwall’s Lost Gardens of Heligan sparked a passion for the exotic.
He now nurtures more than 30 species of bamboo, three species of palm, four species of eucalyptus, and hundreds of other trees, shrubs, and plants.
A small, winding path runs through the jungle to a thatched hut, nestled beneath two huge 32-year-old eucalyptus trees.
“It’s many people’s worst nightmare, they’d be horrified,” said Dr Olpin. “It’s full of bamboos and you have to wind your way through it. But it’s natural.
“You do need good neighbours, as I have massive tall trees that sprawl 100 foot.
“It’s supposed to be a jungle and it looks like a jungle. That’s the way I want it.”
The father-of-three says that his children Jay, 21, Lily, 25, and Holly, 28, grew up believing that tigers roamed their jungle garden and that fairies left them letters written on tree paper.
Dr Olpin said: “The garden was a magical place for my entire family. Walking through it is a bit of an adventure.
“The trees have actually watched my children grow up. It’s older than all of my children.”
Dr Olpin now spends his time keeping the garden tidy and maintained.