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Home   Thanet   News   Article

Couple Les and Maureen Milton grow banana crop in Kent after 11 years of trying

27 July 2014
by Julia Collins

The fruits of their labours have paid off for a Minster couple who have become guardians of a mini banana plantation.

Les, 62, and Maureen Milton, 55, made sure they didn’t slip up after planting a tiny banana tree cutting, devoting tender loving care over 11 winters.

The one plant became three, and now,to their amazement, they have six bunches of bananas on the trees in the back garden of their Monkton Road home.

Les and Maureen Milton with the bananas that have fruited for the first time in 11 years - with grandson Billy Goldsmith

Les and Maureen Milton with the bananas that have fruited for the first time in 11 years - with grandson Billy Goldsmith

Maureen said: “ I was cutting the grass when I looked up and saw these huge pods. I got a step ladder to have a look. Then more pods opened up and now I’ve got six bunches of little green bananas.”

Maureen has contacted the Royal Horticultural Society to try and find out what variety the trees are so that she will have some idea of when they will ripen.

One family member was taken in when Maureen hung bunches of ripe bananas on the trees before the pods emerged.

Explained Maureen: “My grandson Billy Goldsmith, six, kept asking if there would be bananas so I bought a bunch and hung them on a tree.

A close-up of the bananas ripening

A close-up of the bananas ripening

“He was so excited but said he was surprised they had grown with stickers on.

“I had forgotten to remove the labels!”

Maureen would wrap the trees carefully each November, using polystyrene, blankets and waterproof covers. Other than that she has no explanation as to why the trees have thrived, although she doesn’t overwater them.

“We do have our own micro climate here but we have had harsh winters which the trees have survived" - Maureen Milton

Two of her neighbours now have mini banana trees growing from cuttings and are eagerly awaiting future fruit production.

Maureen said: “We do have our own micro climate here but we have had harsh winters which the trees have survived.

“I take the wrapping off them in April and dry them off. I don’t know what has made them fruit this year, they area real talking point in the area.. It has really made our summer.”

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