Staycation gardeners make Dobbies garden centre a palm tree paradise

Sales of palm trees are soaring as 'staycation' Brits bring the beach to their back gardens to make up for missing out on exotic holidays.

Retail experts say that cash-strapped customers are trying to recreate the Mediterranean in Milton Keynes and the Caribbean in Coventry.

And sizzling temperatures for much of the summer have provided perfect conditions for growing palms and other tropical trees and plants.

Garden centre chain Dobbies has reported a 68% year-on-year rise in sales of palms.

Its plant buyer Andy Smith said that many customers were snapping up Cordyline, Tracycarpus and Phoenix palms to make up for going without a foreign holiday.

And sales of other plants that are popular in the Mediterranean and Caribbean like bougainvillea and geraniums are well up this summer too.

Mr Smith said: "We have put the sharp rise in sales of palms and other tropical plants and trees down to the number of people who do not have the money for an exotic holiday this summer.

"They still want to have a piece of the Mediterranean or Caribbean in their back garden or on their patio.

"They are really craving what they would see if they looked up from their hotel balcony in the south of France or St Lucia.

"This is all about a bit of escapism or Brits who have not managed to escape on holiday.

"They may not have had a holiday but they can still have a beautiful garden and bring the beach to them.

"The recent heatwaves have encouraged people to buy palms and plants like bourgainvillea and geraniums.

"And they know that recent winters have been mild enough for palms to survive."

Millions more Brits have been going without a foreign holiday than at any time since mass tourism took off in the 1970s.

The financial downturn and poor exchange rates have seen many families opt for staycations at home.

Last year, the number of trips abroad fell by 15% – or 10.4million overseas visits – according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

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