Tropical paradise or East Tennessee?

(Roane County-WBIR) The gentle rush of water falling to lily pads, flamingos among flowers, bunches of bananas. Tropical paradise? Not exactly. This is Roane County.

"We can't believe we raised bananas in Tennessee," Ray Myers said with a laugh as he rocked in a chair on his porch.

Ray and Raylene Myers enjoy a lovely landscape at their home outside Rockwood. Banana plants are part of the appeal.

"I like the flow of the leaves and the wind moving them. I just like them I think they're pretty," Raylene said.

Every winter, their son Edward helps them move the banana plants inside.

"First thing you have to do is you have to cut all the leaves off it and cut the top off it and my son and grandsons did it up, lay it on the ground with the top downhill where all the water can run out of the plant," Ray explained.

One particular plant has been stored inside then replanted every spring, for 12 years.

Raylene said, "We just keep planting it every year but it's never done anything until this year."

Oh, it's doing something this year.

"We didn't know what to think when this big stem come out," she said.

Ray said, "A stalk come out with the leaf. And on this stalk it had a big round pod. Huge pod."

The pod produced flowers and tiny bananas. Now the bananas are full size and green.

In fact, the banana plant grew so big and so heavy it started to lean so Raylene propped it up with a stick.

"I thought the bananas were going to pull it over," Raylene said.

Their son Edward does most of the actual labor on their landscaping. So far, no bananas have turned up on the trees at his place.

"I rub it in I said come look at these bananas and he said remember where you got the plant," Raylene said.

If the plant continues to produce produce, the Myers may try to make a little money...

"Well we were thinking about building a little table down there by Abels Valley Road there and having fresh bananas next year. Have us a fruit stand," Ray said with a laugh.

Their real hopes are less ambitious.

"We hope by the last of October before frost they're yellow. We don't know if they will be or not. We'll have banana pudding," Ray said.

Raylene added, "I'll have my son take the first bite, see how it is."


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