Banana man Mike's shopping whim bears fruits

PUBLISHED: 12:30 07 October 2017

Mike Grant's banana plant in his garden in Chard

Mike Grant's banana plant in his garden in Chard

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A 99-pence banana plant bought on a whim a decade ago from a Sidmouth supermarket has survived against the odds and is now bearing fruit.

A flower on Mike Grant's banana plantA flower on Mike Grant's banana plant

Originally from the town, Mike Grant planted it in his Chard garden, where it ‘seems to like the soil’.

The tree has flowered and fruited for the last couple of summers but the recent cold snap has stopped the bananas ripening into anything edible.

“After the cold weather it’s looking a bit forlorn,” said Mike, 58, whose tree now stands 15 feet high. “There are still a few sprouts at the back. They only get to about three inches long but it’s highly unusual for them to grow over here. We haven’t got the weather they’re used to in Jamaica!

“I used to live in Salters Meadow and was coming back to Sidmouth most days to go down most days to help my dad, Norman, in his later years. I used to go to Lidl to get his shopping and saw this banana plant for 99p.

Tiny fruits growing on Mike Grant's banana plantTiny fruits growing on Mike Grant's banana plant

“I bought it on a whim, not expecting it to survive the winter. I got my dad one as well. I was lucky – mine flourished but his withered and died. It must like the soil here.

“I like unusual things and a banana plant is something a bit different. You don’t see many banana trees about. Dad always liked growing things from seeds. Perhaps I got the original idea from him.

“I keep hoping I’ll get some edible fruit. It will get stronger every year – you never know!”

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