Brockport banana garden: California transplant brings tropical harvest to New York

Brockport

BROCKPORT, N.Y. (WROC) — Banana trees are native to parts of South America and only spawn in wet or hot biomes.

When Ray Trim was forced to move back to New York from California, he decided to challenge Mother Nature and now he has a full banana tree garden in Brockport.

Originally from Gates-Chili, Trim spent more than 30 years in the Golden State, but moved back home to help his mother who is dealing with health issues.

While the move was beneficial, the shift in climate between the two states was a tall hurdle.

“I realized ‘OK Ray, we are not going to be growing the same plants and trees any longer,'” Trim said.

However, he wasn’t willing to give up on the idea of bringing parts of California over to Brockport. During a visit to a regional garden store, he found small musa basjoo plants.

Now his backyard in Brockport is home to more than 20 banana trees, each standing at 8 feet high.

“The [label] even said ‘perennial’ on the tag which means it grows back every year,” Trim said. “I got a couple of them, put them in the ground and three years later it went from a couple of little trees to over 20.”

Western New York winters are no match for tropical plants, especially banana trees that need the right amount of sun and steady, consistent temperatures.

To survive they all get cut to about eight inches above the ground and hibernate until Spring.

“We bring them down to eight inches and cover them with a bag of mulch,” Trim said. “The mulch becomes like their little blanket for winter and when the cold passes you rake away the mulch and they come back.”

As the trees grew so did the attention of his neighbors who now get fruit delivered to them.

Trim also shares his banana trees with people outside of New York, and because he has so many trees, he’s even shipped some to friends in Iowa.

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