Growing Bananas in the UK?

This interesting letter appeared in the Daily Telegraph recently (Aug 06), underneath a picture of gardener Stephen Elstub with the first ever crop of bananas at Clare College, Cambridge.

Sir - The banana harvest at Clare College, Cambridge, is not unique. I also have a tree producing bananas in my garden on the edge of the Fleet in Dorset.

Flowers began to appear at the beginning of July and to attract numerous wasps. There are currently five bunches on the plant, which is five years old and grows quite happily in a sheltered spot next to apple and palm trees.

I believe it is the Japanese banana plant Musa basjoo and that the bananas will probably be small and inedible when ripe. However, it would be a rather a coup to present them as home-grown produce at the local farmers' market.

D.E.Gardner, Weymouth, Dorset

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