Growing tropical fruit like pineapples, kiwi fruit and bananas in Ely in Cardiff
Tropical fruit grown indoors and in gardens in Ely
When I used to live in the council estate of Ely in Cardiff in South Wales I made the news twice because of exotic fruit I had grown at my house in Parker Place. The first time was for a pineapple I had grown in my living room and that made the Xmas HTV News.
Exotic fruit grown in Ely
Meet Steve Andrews the Welsh Pineapple Grower
There was a caption with the news feature saying "Steve Andrews, Welsh Pineapple grower." HTV had a video file available on their site too at the time.
I followed that by growing kiwi fruit on a vine in my back garden and that was featured in the South Wales Echo newspaper. The story was that although I had grown large vines from seed that had twined all over my washing line pole no fruit had been produced until some magical influence from a white witch friend of mine.
The kiwi vines had flowered for a couple of years but never formed any fruit at all and I was telling my friend Ayla the Witch this one day when she was visiting. She was sat underneath the vines at the time and she said she thought that this year I would be in for some luck.
Some weeks later I was happily surprised to find the first fruit forming on the vine and they were doing so right above where my friend had sat!
The pineapple took a couple of years to produce fruit too but first it had to flower and it was really exciting watching it devlop afterwards.
When the fruit finally developed it did so just before Xmas, which was ideal because I sent an idea for a story into the TV company, saying that in the cold and dark of winter I was dreaming of warm tropical locations and growing exotic fruit in my house in Ely.
That was how they presented the news feature, opening with a shot of a tropical beach and palm trees before cutting to me in my house in Ely where I was showing the cameraman my pineapple.
Later on there was brief interview with an expert from the Welsh Botanical Gardens and he confirmed that this was a probable first time that someone had grown a pineapple in Wales.
I had become known locally for being the man who grew a pineapple and kiwi fruit at his house on the Ely council estate. It was certainly a bit different!
Both those horticultural successes of mine happened in the years before I moved over to Tenerife at the end of 2004. Now I live where fruit crops like these are commonly grown outdoors.
This year I went back to visit my friends and family in Cardiff for a week's holiday and was amazed to see that it looked as if someone has been following my example because in the garden of a house in Wroughton Place in Ely I spotted some bananas growing.
There were flowers on the banana plants too so possibly by now fruit will have formed?
Does this mean that Ely will become known as the first British council estate where residents grow tropical fruit? Perhaps if more people start doing likewise in other parts of the UK there could be national competitions set up for the most unusual and best exotic fruit grown in Britain by amateur gardeners?
With climate change becoming ever more something it is hard to argue against, it looks as if it is getting a lot easier to grow such fruit in the UK!