Sheffield dad completely transforms his garden into tropical jungle with 100-foot palm trees

Not being able to travel the world due to his deathly fear of flying, a Sheffield dad has devoted half of his life to transforming the back garden of his house into an incredible ‘jungle’ with 100 foot tall palm trees.

Monday, 22nd February 2021, 11:53 am

Dr Simon Olpin, 69 has been passionate about nature since he was a boy but his fear of flying meant he wasn’t able to see any jungles from different parts of the world.

Therefore, the clinical biochemist has brought the jungle to his suburban garden, after planting his first tree from a ‘small pot’ back in 1987.

Since then, his 8,000 square foot ‘jungle’ has grown to have more than 100 species of plants, with massive 100 foot palm trees which tower over the sprawling garden.

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The jungle garden of Dr. Simon Olpin, 69, in Sheffield, South Yorks., February 21 2021. An eccentric man has devoted the last three decades transforming the 8,000 square foot back garden of his detached house into an incredible ‘jungle’ with 100 foot tall palm trees. See SWNS story SWLEjungle. Dr Simon Olpin, 69, has been passionate about nature since he was a boy but due to his deathly fear of flying he has never been able to travel the world and see any jungles himself. But the clinical biochemist has brought the jungle to his suburban garden in Sheffield, South Yorks., after planting his first tree from a ‘small pot’ way back in 1987. Since then, his ‘jungle’ has grown to have more than 100 species of plants, with massive 100 foot palm trees which tower over the sprawling garden. When Simon moved to the home in Yorkshire from Cambridge in 1987, he said the garden was a ‘blank canvas’ which required a lot of ‘trial and error’ to get to where it is now. The green-fingered jungle fanatic said he couldn’t even put a number on the amount of hours or money he has spent perfecting his project over the last three decades.

The ‘jungle’ started off as what he described as ‘blank canvas, which he said required a lot of ‘trial and error’ when he first moved to his home from Cambridge in 1987.

Father-of-three Dr Olpin 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.

The jungle garden of Dr. Simon Olpin, 69, in Sheffield, South Yorks., February 21 2021. An eccentric man has devoted the last three decades transforming the 8,000 square foot back garden of his detached house into an incredible ‘jungle’ with 100 foot tall palm trees. See SWNS story SWLEjungle. Dr Simon Olpin, 69, has been passionate about nature since he was a boy but due to his deathly fear of flying he has never been able to travel the world and see any jungles himself. But the clinical biochemist has brought the jungle to his suburban garden in Sheffield, South Yorks., after planting his first tree from a ‘small pot’ way back in 1987. Since then, his ‘jungle’ has grown to have more than 100 species of plants, with massive 100 foot palm trees which tower over the sprawling garden. When Simon moved to the home in Yorkshire from Cambridge in 1987, he said the garden was a ‘blank canvas’ which required a lot of ‘trial and error’ to get to where it is now. The green-fingered jungle fanatic said he couldn’t even put a number on the amount of hours or money he has spent perfecting his project over the last three decades.

“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 passion for plants and wildlife started when he was a child, but his love of the exotic came from a visit to The Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall.

The jungle garden of Dr. Simon Olpin, 69, in Sheffield, South Yorks., February 21 2021. An eccentric man has devoted the last three decades transforming the 8,000 square foot back garden of his detached house into an incredible ‘jungle’ with 100 foot tall palm trees. See SWNS story SWLEjungle. Dr Simon Olpin, 69, has been passionate about nature since he was a boy but due to his deathly fear of flying he has never been able to travel the world and see any jungles himself. But the clinical biochemist has brought the jungle to his suburban garden in Sheffield, South Yorks., after planting his first tree from a ‘small pot’ way back in 1987. Since then, his ‘jungle’ has grown to have more than 100 species of plants, with massive 100 foot palm trees which tower over the sprawling garden. When Simon moved to the home in Yorkshire from Cambridge in 1987, he said the garden was a ‘blank canvas’ which required a lot of ‘trial and error’ to get to where it is now. The green-fingered jungle fanatic said he couldn’t even put a number on the amount of hours or money he has spent perfecting his project over the last three decades.

His first tree was an 18-inch Chinese windmill plant which he purchased from a university sale in 1987 - which now towers more than 100 feet over his house.

He added that his garden is many people’s ‘worst nightmare’ but having supportive neighbours helps.

“It’s supposed to be a jungle and it looks like a jungle. That’s the way I want it.”

His family have also grown up loving the adventure which came from having a jungle in the back garden.

The jungle garden of Dr. Simon Olpin, 69, in Sheffield, South Yorks., February 21 2021. An eccentric man has devoted the last three decades transforming the 8,000 square foot back garden of his detached house into an incredible ‘jungle’ with 100 foot tall palm trees. See SWNS story SWLEjungle. Dr Simon Olpin, 69, has been passionate about nature since he was a boy but due to his deathly fear of flying he has never been able to travel the world and see any jungles himself. But the clinical biochemist has brought the jungle to his suburban garden in Sheffield, South Yorks., after planting his first tree from a ‘small pot’ way back in 1987. Since then, his ‘jungle’ has grown to have more than 100 species of plants, with massive 100 foot palm trees which tower over the sprawling garden. When Simon moved to the home in Yorkshire from Cambridge in 1987, he said the garden was a ‘blank canvas’ which required a lot of ‘trial and error’ to get to where it is now. The green-fingered jungle fanatic said he couldn’t even put a number on the amount of hours or money he has spent perfecting his project over the last three decades.

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The jungle garden of Dr. Simon Olpin, 69, in Sheffield, South Yorks., February 21 2021. An eccentric man has devoted the last three decades transforming the 8,000 square foot back garden of his detached house into an incredible ‘jungle’ with 100 foot tall palm trees. See SWNS story SWLEjungle. Dr Simon Olpin, 69, has been passionate about nature since he was a boy but due to his deathly fear of flying he has never been able to travel the world and see any jungles himself. But the clinical biochemist has brought the jungle to his suburban garden in Sheffield, South Yorks., after planting his first tree from a ‘small pot’ way back in 1987. Since then, his ‘jungle’ has grown to have more than 100 species of plants, with massive 100 foot palm trees which tower over the sprawling garden. When Simon moved to the home in Yorkshire from Cambridge in 1987, he said the garden was a ‘blank canvas’ which required a lot of ‘trial and error’ to get to where it is now. The green-fingered jungle fanatic said he couldn’t even put a number on the amount of hours or money he has spent perfecting his project over the last three decades.
The jungle garden of Dr. Simon Olpin, 69, in Sheffield, South Yorks., February 21 2021. An eccentric man has devoted the last three decades transforming the 8,000 square foot back garden of his detached house into an incredible ‘jungle’ with 100 foot tall palm trees. See SWNS story SWLEjungle. Dr Simon Olpin, 69, has been passionate about nature since he was a boy but due to his deathly fear of flying he has never been able to travel the world and see any jungles himself. But the clinical biochemist has brought the jungle to his suburban garden in Sheffield, South Yorks., after planting his first tree from a ‘small pot’ way back in 1987. Since then, his ‘jungle’ has grown to have more than 100 species of plants, with massive 100 foot palm trees which tower over the sprawling garden. When Simon moved to the home in Yorkshire from Cambridge in 1987, he said the garden was a ‘blank canvas’ which required a lot of ‘trial and error’ to get to where it is now. The green-fingered jungle fanatic said he couldn’t even put a number on the amount of hours or money he has spent perfecting his project over the last three decades.