The Tropics of Wakefield - giant banana palm and mutant artichoke bloom at Yorkshire landmark

Nostell Priory has banana plants
Nostell Priory has banana plants

More than a dozen banana palms and an army of artichokes are wowing summer holiday visitors in the exotic climes of West Yorkshire.

More commonly seen in Japan, the banana plants are more than 10ft tall, towering over more familiar berry fruits within the kitchen gardens of Nostell, Wakefield.

Defying Mother Nature for a third consecutive year, the palms have fruited despite the Yorkshire weather, growing in number from four to more than a dozen since being planted in 2012.

Some of the palms’ immediate neighbours – gigantic artichokes – have also broken with convention in Nostell’s mini microclimate and mutated into a very spiky version of the huge deep purple variety.

Resident kitchen gardener Mark Westmoreland, who planted the original four banana palms at the National Trust treasure house, is amazed how they have flourished.

He said: “You really wouldn’t think you’d see banana plants growing in the middle of West Yorkshire but they seem quite happy here.

“The most common question garden visitors ask me is whether these plants are actually real banana palms. Given where they are it’s not a stupid question at all – I can’t quite believe how well they are doing.”

The kitchen gardens are currently awash with produce, much of which is used by Nostell’s kitchen team; including10kilos of strawberries, 25 kilos of cauliflowers and an eye-watering 100kilos of onions.

Visit www.nationaltrustorg.uk/nostell for more information on Mark’s regular gardening masterclasses and talks.