Bananas spotted sprouting in West Yorkshire for second time in a month

Esther Holmes, who discovered banana plants in her garden in Castleford.
Esther Holmes, who discovered banana plants in her garden in Castleford.
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They are most commonly grown in the warm conditions of the tropics, but bananas have now been spotted sprouting in West Yorkshire for the second time in a month.

Nostell Priory’s kitchen gardener Mark Westmoreland noticed two small rings of the fruit flowering for the first time ever on a plant at the historic site in mid-July.

Now Castleford couple Esther and Frank Holmes have discovered that two banana plants in their garden are also producing fruit.

And they have joked their bananas can rival offering of the National Trust property near Wakefield. Mrs Holmes, 71, said: “I think they’re bigger and better than the ones at Nostell Priory.

“It’s definitely most unusual to grow bananas up here. My cousins down south have been saying ‘how can you grow bananas in the frozen North’? It’s quite exciting really.”

When Mr Holmes went to uncover the plants after the winter in May, he noticed one was flowering for the first time. And it now has a bunch of bananas about an inch-and-a-half long.

Last week, Mr Holmes, 69, also discovered a second plant with “even bigger” fruit.

Mrs Holmes said: “We just planted them in the ground four years ago and left them to it. I’m quite surprised they have flowered.

“My husband is always going out to do the garden but apart from giving them some extra water when it has been hot, we haven’t done anything out of the ordinary. They have just flourished on their own.”

She added: “I don’t think they are edible. I’m not about to try one.”

The couple will open up their garden at 29 Lancaster Street on Sunday as part of the National Garden Scheme (NGS). Entry costs £3 and the money will to NGS-supported charities.