AFTER years of determination, an Oxford man has managed to grow bananas in his front garden.

Daniel Emlyn-Jones, who lives in Divinity Road, East Oxford has been trying to grow the exotic fruit at his house for decades.

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His mission started in the 1990s when he planted a hardy banana variety called Musa Basjoo in his back garden.

The 48-year-old said: "It was a bit pathetic so I transplanted it to a sunnier spot and it started to multiply. I put some of the plants in the front garden because it's south facing and gets lots of sun and I think they really liked that because they got very big.

"This year the bananas in my front garden are finally flowering and fruiting, which is quite a spectacular sight."

Oxford Mail: Daniel Emlyn-Jones has managed to grow bananas in his front garden and heÕs been trying since 1990!
Picture by Ed Nix

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Mr Emlyn-Jones said he used to wrap the plants to protect them from frosts, but then stopped doing this and noticed they would continue to grow fine.

He said: "Initially I protected it and put leaves around it for years and years but these days I just leave them and they grow fine. Most bananas just die because they get the frosts but there are some that can withstand the frosts. They do need a lot of fertiliser though.

"To get them to flower and fruit is quite unusual and rather fun. I thought it would be nice for people outside to see because they're quite elegant. I hope more people grow this and other hardy varieties of banana."

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The fruit is not edible but Mr Emlyn-Jones plans to grow the Blue Jaba banana in the future which can be eaten and has an ice cream-like consistency.

Oxford Mail: Daniel Emlyn-Jones has managed to grow bananas in his front garden and heÕs been trying since 1990!
Picture by Ed Nix

Oxford Botanic Garden Curator and head of horticulture Mark Brent said he has respect for Mr Emlyn-Jones for trying to grow something more adventurous and exotic in Oxford.

Speaking about how the Musa Basjoo is grown, he said: "They are well known to grow in milder coastal gardens from Cornwall to Kent and northwards to southwest Scotland. It’s more of a challenge in a location like Oxfordshire where the winters are colder.

"We grow them at Oxford Botanic Gardens but like most people in inland counties we wrap them with hessian to help protect their stems from winter frosts, the ‘subtropical look’ has become popular and I imagine they create a wonderful talking point in the street, certainly different from the more usual plants that feature in front gardens."

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