Prema goes bananas in Ipswich

YES! She has some bananas!For ten years, Prema Leathers has been watching her banana plant growing in her back garden, but it had never produced any fruit - until now.

YES! She has some bananas!

For ten years, Prema Leathers has been watching her banana plant growing in her back garden, but it had never produced any fruit - until now.

The popular fruit is more often associated with growing in a more tropical climate but Mrs Leathers has finally managed to achieve her goal and grown a bunch of bananas.

Although they are not yet ripe she is planning to eat them once they are ready.

The banana plant is among exotic company in Mrs Leathers' garden as the green-fingered home carer has also grown chillies, aubergines and peanuts.

Mrs Leathers, of Foxhall Road, is planning to open her exotic and organic garden to the public next month to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

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She said: “I was born in Mauritius so whatever I see that is unusual, I get.

“I have always liked gardening and watch all the gardening programmes. My grandmother was a very keen gardener.

“Gardening is my life. If it is raining, there are always plenty of things I can do in my greenhouses.

“I'm not sure why the banana plant fruited now but I know that it does take time and I've been waiting ten years.”

She said her exotic plants all need careful management in all seasons and admits that she spends most of her time in the garden.

The part-time home carer originally came to Ipswich in 1969 as she had an uncle living in Colchester. She moved to her current house in 1996 and has been working on her garden since then.

She has held open days there four times now and is particularly looking forward to the forthcoming one.

It is due to take place on Sunday, August 3, from 2pm to 5pm, at 664 Foxhall Road.

Mrs Leathers, a mother of two, added: “People can have the chance to look around the garden. The entry fee is a donation.

“I just enjoy gardening so much and want to share that with people.”

Do you have a fascinating hobby? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

During the war there were no bananas available in Britain however after this period, every child was given a banana

Bananas should be planted during the warmer months of the year, in a well-drained soil, enriched with organic matter.

Flowers may occasionally be produced but bananas are unlikely to fruit reliably outdoors

'Yes We Have No Bananas' was the title of a novelty song produced in 1923, which remained popular throughout the 20th century

The banana originated in the Indo-Malaysian region of Asia

Sellamuttu Krishnasamy managed to grow bananas in his garden in Maidenhead. His largest crop reached 12ft high