Yakking to David Harricks in his Greerton garden yesterday (his efforts at sustainability will be featured in next Saturday’s Bay of Plenty Times) and spotted a young banana tree – a Blue Java variety, also known as the ice-cream banana because of its texture and flavour.
David got the tree from Rodger Bodle of Gisborne and he told me a bit about Rodger’s pioneering work with bananas. This interview with Rodger is from 2011.
Rodger has been working with bananas since the 1950s and says his biggest bunch to date has been 15kg of the Pesang variety from Indonesia, a tree that has acclimatised to his conditions. He calls his garden Bermuda Palms Banana Research and believes it is the southernmost banana research station in the world.
His garden is home to varieties from Fiji, Samoa, Ecuador, Brazil and Israel, and he also has outdoor plantings of pineapple, coffee and orchids.
The garden is open to visit at 11 Murphy Road, Wainui Beach, Gisborne, phone 06 867 7095 or email Rodger. Open Saturdays 9am-4.30pm, weekdays by arrangement. Gold coin donation. Rodger is also on Facebook.