Eco-friendly developer grows impossible bananas

A former naval officer has who built himself what he believes to be the worlds most energy-efficient home has managed to achieve the impossible by growing bananas in his house.

Mike Hillard, now the owner of a property development company, built a house which included a "solar room" akin to a huge greenhouse in which he keeps his three 16ft musa japonica banana plants.

Despite repeated attempts, the Royal Horticultural Society says it has failed to achieve a crop of bananas from the species, but Mr Hillard has achieved it.

"This has all been done by the English sunshine in my solar room, which provides my house with an oxygen rich atmosphere," he told the Daily Mirror.

"I was surprised when they flowered because I was told Oh theyll never grow fruit.

"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."

Mr Hillards story shows the power of growing under glass – his trees are native to East Asia but he has managed to grow bananas in Gloucestershire.