My interest in experimenting with sub-tropical plants and 'hardy exotics' took off in 1983 & 1984 which were relatively hot summers in Northern Ireland and gave a (false) feeling of a mediterranean climate.
I was aware at this stage that we could grow Cordylines in Northern Ireland , that they would be cut down by frosts but that were also capable of regrowing from ground level. The next 'discoveries' were that there were some Yuccas which were totally hardy in our climate and even one palm 'Trachycarpus fortunei'! There followed an explosion of possibilities and experimentation with plants grown from seed or imported from specialist nurseries in Cornwall and elsewhere in England. (Sources were very limited at that time). Many plants died in our cold wet winters but others survived and we left our first house in January 1994, with a garden full of well established Trachycarpus palms, Chamaerops humilis, Cordyline australis and the more exotic C. indivisa, yuccas, bottle brushes, astleia, some hardy cactus, etc.
Anyway, this blog is more to do with the garden in our current house in the South Belfast area, Northern Ireland and to demonstrate that even in a small urban garden it is possible to cram in a lot of exotic plants and create a sub-tropical effect.
I'll finish this introduction with a picture of the front garden taken a few days ago.