Bananas weather creats a surprise in Aldwick

Patricia Murray with her banana plant in Bognor Regis
Patricia Murray with her banana plant in Bognor Regis

PROOF that Bognor Regis truly has a Spanish climate was evidenced by a banana tree starting to flower in Aldwick.

Patricia Murray had a shock when she went in the garden of her Aldwick Bay Estate home last week to discover the fruit.

“It was an absolutely dreadful day,” she said. “I looked out the window and thought ‘what’s that leaf, it looks so solid’.

“I went out in the rain and looked and there it was.

“It was ready to open and the wind had opened it.”

Despite last Wednesday’s weather being dreadful – leading to a warning from the Met Office – the weather throughout this year 
has in fact been ideal for banana growing, according to an expert from the Royal Horticultural Society.

“Bognor Regis is a place of mild winters,” said chief horticultural advisor Guy Barter.

“We had a mild winter last year and we had a very late spring and a nice bit of heat in the 
summer.

“There’s nowhere like the south coast for light levels.

“If there’s anywhere a banana was going to flower it would be on the south coast.”

While saying it was not uncommon for bananas to fruit in the UK with far more people growing the trees now, he said it was still ‘somewhat unusual’ for one actually start to flower.

“If you couldn’t take your holiday to Andalusia or the Canary Islands, Bognor Regis is probably as close as you’re going to get,” he said.

Patricia said she was ‘very proud’ of her plant and would keep track of its progress.

While many people are growing bananas, most keep them wrapped up to artificially provide the right growing conditions.

However, Patricia’s has just been outside in the garden of her Aldwick home.

“I was told it’s the wettest summer we’ve had for ages and perhaps that’s why bananas have grown,” she said.

The couple moved in three years ago, with the tree already well-established.

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