We've gone bananas!
Sharpham's banana plant has flowered for the first time in at least 10 years!
Flowers have appeared on the plant, which grows in the Walled Garden.
Our maintenance man Jacek, has lived on-site for a decade and has never seen the plant flower.
Jesse, our gardener, points out how sunny and warm the year was earlier, but says that the tiny fruit visible on the plant won't ever get ripe.
"The little bananas are really green and hard - they're not going to get bigger," he said. "Bananas need 9-15 months with temperatures above 15 degrees, then 2 more months to ripen. It's not warm enough for long enough here."
But he did have some great banana facts for us to digest:
- We call bananas a fruit, but they are technically a berry, which carry their seeds in the wild
- You won't find banana seeds in the ones you get in the shops - they've been bred to be seedless
- Bananas start their life within a banana 'heart' - enclosed in bracts (a special kind of protective leaf) that open up to reveal the bananas. See the 2 yellow banana hearts in the pictures.
Pictures of the banana plant taken by Clive, a Sharpham Archive volunteer