Tropical plants in Meckenheim 91-year-old grows banana plants in his front garden

Meckenheim · Meckenheim is known for its apple trees, among other things. Meanwhile, banana plants thrive in Willy Hagen's front garden - thanks to the 91-year-old's care.

 Willy Hagen from Meckenheim grows banana plants in front of his rented flat.

Willy Hagen from Meckenheim grows banana plants in front of his rented flat.

Foto: Axel Vogel

The tropics in the middle of Meckenheim. This is the impression you get when you visit Willy Hagen in his rented flat on Dechant-Kreiten-Straße. After all, there are about 15 banana plants growing in front of the apartment building, some almost three metres high.

The bananas are the hobby of the native of Duisburg, who moved to Meckenheim with his wife in 2008 and discovered banana cultivation for himself there. "But actually my wife, who has unfortunately passed away in the meantime, is the originator," says the 91-year-old. For almost 50 years, he regularly went camping in the Netherlands with her. From there they brought hydrangeas with them, which have been blooming in the front garden since 2008. "I had also arranged all this with my landlady," says Hagen.

The banana plants do not bear fruit

And then there were the bananas. Hagen's wife had ordered two banana plants from a Dutch plant shop and also planted them in the front garden together with her husband. "All the other banana trees here grew from these two plants," says Hagen, explaining, "On behalf of my late wife, I now continue this hobby."

In his view, the banana is an ideal tree in times of climate change - "because it provides a lot of shade, is comparatively easy to care for and also copes well with the heat." According to Hagen, wintering is also no problem: "I cut the trees very short and then put foliage on them and cover them with a fleece." In spring, the cover is removed and everything grows again. However, Hagen's banana plants do not bear fruit. "But I can live with that," he says.

Original text: Axel Vogel

Translation: Mareike Graepel

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