Giant palm tree is turning heads

Jean-Marc Agius with daughter Melissa Agius and the huge palm

Jean-Marc Agius with daughter Melissa Agius and the huge palm

First published in News Wimbledon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A father and daughter enjoying the sun under a tropical palm tree is an image you might expect to see in the Caribbean, or some remote Pacific isle.

So it might come as a shock to learn this idyllic image was taken on a cold February morning on Darlaston Road, close to Wimbledon town centre.

The Washingtonia palm, which at three storeys high may be the tallest of its kind in London, originates in the California desert and is common in Beverly Hills.

Wimbledon Guardian:

They have been known to grow to up to 30m in height.

Jean-Marc Agius, a mechanic from Sicily, said: "I brought it back from Tunisia 22 year ago and planted it outside my house. I never thought it would grow so big "It's very low maintenance. It doesn't need water or anything."

The landmark has drawn admiration from schoolchildren and horticulturalists alike, who have followed its growth over the years.

Gardener Robert Stacewicz, director of The Garden Sage London Ltd, said: "I remember it from my school days in the late 1990s when it had already grown quite large.

"I knocked on the door one day with a friend of mine, and the owners were more than happy for us to take photos.

"Palms are able to grow close to buildings because the roots don't cause damage to foundations like normal trees would. They also lean away from the building over time, so the microclimate by a house wall is quite a good place to plant a palm."

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