Wednesday, November 12, 2008

And so to bed

After all that snow last month, with accompanying panic involving yards of horticultural fleece and bubble-wrap, I finally got round to doing the job properly.

My poor banana plant...

I hope to goodness I'm doing this right. This year was the first time I've ever grown bananas, and I've become completely hooked - something about watching them grow by about a foot a day - but this is a bit nerve-wracking. I looked it all up, and they say you have to chop off all the leaves and put it somewhere frost-free. I've potted it up in a 50:50 mix of compost and sand, which should take care of the drainage, but oh it looks so miserable. To say nothing of that worrying list to the top spike. I think I may have removed one too many leaves. Well - it'll live or it'll die, I suppose.

More straightforward was the Musa basjoo by the pond. When you chop the leaves off this one, you don't have to look at it as you immediately cover it in lots of straw, so you can kid yourself it's all cosy and warm in there. I've used an old bit of green plastic fencing to hold it all in place, and that plastic on the top is a bit of bubble wrap just to keep the worst of the rain off and stop it all rotting. I'll also be wrapping a couple of layers of fleece round the whole thing, partly as insurance, partly because it'll look marginally better if I do.

I hear of lots of tales of Musa being left outside all winter long these days with never a setback, but since we're not really within the London microclimate here and this is only a one-year-old plant, I thought I'd best not risk it. One day I'll have a 20-ft monster which I'll be only too pleased to have cut down by the frost - but not just yet.


Plant Mad Nige said...

Looks a skilled job and I suppose the trick is to strike the right balance between adequate insulation of the main stem while providing enough ventilation to prevent rotting.

One reason why I haven't taken up the challenge of a banana in my garden is that unless you are really artistic, the wrapped object can look so horrid in winter. You're obviously pretty handy but if I tried it, the result would look like a nasty case of fly tipping.

Plant Mad Nige said...

By the way, is that Geranium maderense, by the outdoor banana?

(The word verification was rootte - how's that for being horticultural?)

garden girl said...

Good luck overwintering them. I was very tempted by a large, clearance-priced banana this fall but I was I afraid I'd kill it trying to overwinter it. I think it would have to come inside in our climate.

VP said...

I think you're right to mollycoddle your young banana, but I wouldn't be surprised if you can get away with not doing so in a couple of year's time.

I did something similar with my Dicksonia Antarctica for its first few years, but inertia last year meant I left off the fleece and it survived OK.

Fingers crossed eh?

The Constant Gardener said...

well spotted Nigel - yes it is a Geranium maderense. Didn't flower this year but that fabulous foliage more than made up for it. I picked it up from the Ventnor Botanic Garden (fine source of unusual and slightly tender plants). I couldn't quite bring myself to dig it up and bring it in yet but I really must soon or I'll be off down to the Isle of Wight again.

VP - so hope you're right. Don't much fancy the straw-and-bubblewrap boogie forever.

and GG - go for it - they can be grown as annuals you know ;D

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