A COUPLE has transformed their backyard into a tropical oasis.
Karen Cammish, 51, and husband Jason, 50, have more than 100 exotic plants, including giant bamboo, palm trees, trachycarpus and ten-foot banana trees.
They also have a koi fish pond, greenhouse, hot tub and full tiki bar in their 10 x 12 meter garden, which cost more than £5,000 to set up in Caterton, Oxfordshire.
Their inspiration came from tropical islands around the world and they finally visited Hawaii last month after years of saving.
Karen said: “Our tropical garden is our taste of a little paradise that we can experience every day.
“It was inspiring to see how the plants we grow in our garden, such as colocasia, ginger and solid bamboo, grow wild in the rainforests.
“We will organize a few plants and I’m sure there will be a few more after this trip.
“We have always dreamed of visiting tropical islands but money and other commitments have always stood in the way but we had a blast seeing the tropical plants we know and love so much while out there.
“I’ve been gardening since I was a little girl – my grandma and grandpa were really big gardeners.
“My grandmother was interested in tropical plants so I grew up around them and then Jason started investing when we bought this house together.
“We’ve always kept the garden nice, but it was always for the kids – we had a trampoline here once and even chickens.
“Now it’s more adult friendly and a great place to relax.
“However, we don’t import the plants, we grow many of them from bulbs.
“Although the English weather isn’t always great, it doesn’t really affect our plants as we tend them in the greenhouse and wrap up the banana trees to protect them when it freezes.”
Karen said they did a lot of the work themselves and grew some plants from seeds and bulbs.
She added: “It’s a fantastic and tranquil place to sit – gardening has become a huge factor in improving mental health these days.
“Now it’s not as much work as it used to be, we just have to water the plants and pull a few weeds here and there.
“The banana plants have to be my favorites, some of them reach 10 feet in height and the best part about these plants is once you’ve grown one, they just keep coming.
“A lot of these plants look prehistoric and it’s quite unusual to have them in a regular garden, but everyone always has nice things to say about them.
“When people first come into the garden, they are so shocked.”
Sometimes they open it to the public and plan to improve the garden after more travel experience.