Yes . . . we have bananas in frosty Sockburn

With a banana tree fruiting in her garden, Margaretmary Comeskey might have one of the most appealing properties in Sockburn.

Comeskey got a big surprise when she noticed the banana tree she planted in her garden 15 years ago had produced fruit for the first time.

"I always knew it was too cold to fruit in Christchurch," she said.

She got the plant because she liked the look of it, not because she expected it to produce bananas.

About a dozen bananas are now growing on the unsheltered tree.

"We thought it was miraculous," she said.

Alan Jolliffe, former curator of the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, said it was rare for one to fruit in Christchurch, especially in Sockburn, which was frost-prone.

Banana trees did not fruit very often in Christchurch, and if they did he expected it to happen in Sumner, where it was warmer, or Akaroa and maybe on the Cashmere hills above the frost line.

"It could be a fluke. There could be some micro-climate operating in that area," he said.

Jolliffe said something must have triggered the tree to flower and fruit last year when the fruiting period would have begun.

"They have something that is pretty rare and unprecedented in Sockburn."

The Press