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Last Updated: Monday, 23 October 2006, 18:00 GMT 19:00 UK
Hotel goes bananas over new crops
Bananas on a tree
About half of the hotel's banana palms bore fruit
A Devon hotel has successfully grown bananas, olives and oranges during the mild autumn.

Paul and Linda Garwood, who took over the Cary Court Hotel in Torquay three years ago, said it was "like being in the Caribbean".

The site has about 20 banana palms. Some have born fruit before, but this year half have flowered and fruited.

The Royal Horticultural Society said that global warming could be turning winter milder in southern England.

'Exotic' garden

Oranges bushes at the hotel, one of the few remaining plantation-style houses built a century ago on part of the Cary Estate, have also grown fruits.

Mrs Garwood said: "The Japanese banana palms had fruit last year, but this had been the first year olives have been produced; while it also marked the largest crop the citrus bushes had grown.

"In previous years, the fruit on the bushes has been pea-size before dropping off.

"This year we have Satsuma-sized fruit. We have eight or nine growing on one bush and about a dozen on the other."

She added: "It's a beautiful garden, exotic and is like being in the Caribbean."

A spokesman for the Royal Horticultural Society said that despite the global warming concerns, the exotic fruits were "pretty remarkable".

He said: "It is certainly in keeping with what you would expect from climate change.

"But if it is going to happen anywhere it would be on the south coast.

The spokesman said the society hoped it would encourage other people to try and grow some exotic plants.


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