The bananas bloomed in his hi-tech solar room, which stays between 10C and 16C above outside temperature all year, and is just warm enough for the east Asian crop to grow healthily.
Now Mr Hillard intends to fry them up in a tasty curry. He said: "This has all been done by the English sunshine in my solar room, which provides my house with an oxygen-rich atmosphere.
It has been called the most energy-efficient house in the world. I was surprised when they flowered because I was told, 'Oh they'll never grow fruit'. Now they are growing into a forest, and I've got seven babies. I asked the Royal Horticultural Society and they told me to get down on my prayer mat because they had been trying for years to get theirs to bear fruit. Mine have grown to four or five inches and they are edible.
"Perhaps there is a Lord somewhere who has done it too but I don't know where he is. It looks like a giant beehive and the trunk is full of water. You would call it a palm. The leaves grow about 5.5m up, nearly touching the roof."
He said that he would be cooking the bananas in a slap-up meal despite the RHS's warnings that the fruit will taste odd. He said: "I love bananas and will probably cook them like a plantain; they will be very nice fried with rice."
Friday, November 07, 2008
"Perhaps there is a Lord somewhere"
At the Independent, James Woodward on British amateur horticulturalist Mike Hillard's success growing bananas in his Gloucestershire home: