|From In the Garden|
It is time for an update on the banana 'trees' here in my garden. I thought it time because every single time someone comes over they remark how nice the garden is then their eyes for some reason get glued to these banana trees in the center of the vegetable garden and that is all they think about. It doesn't matter how nice the Angel Trumpets (shown above right next to the banana trees), or the Sunny Perennial Border or all the other flowers and ornamentals look in the garden, no, the one thing that all folks come back to looking at and talking about are the banana trees.
The banana trees have become quite a focal point for my landscape. It is probably all my fault. I planted one single plant three years ago in a prominent location in the center of the vegetable garden. I even made the banana tree its own bed found here. The soil was all native soil heavily amended with home made compost. The pH is a near perfect 7.0 and the area of the banana bed gets the most sun I can find in my garden-about 3-6 hours a day during the growing season depending on the angle of the sun. This bed gets the most sun when the sun is directly overhead in June and July; less hours in the spring, late summer and fall. I have added no fertilizer to this bed and give the bananas no special attention at all, though they probably need a compost boost as it has been a few years since I've added any compost. Put that on the fall chore list for the vegetable garden-check.
To give you some idea of the scale of the banana trees I measured the PVC arbor at the front of the vegetable garden. The height of the PVC arbor is 12 feet at its highest. You can see the banana trees are about 6-8 feet taller than that so I estimate the banana trees to be close to 20 feet tall. They are simply incredible and do make a gigantic focal point in my landscape. They can be seen from out front and everywhere you go in the backyard.
As long as the temperatures stay moderate these hardy Japanese bananas will continue to grow new leaves. The new leaves are huge and very fresh and new when compared to the old leaves. The old leaves usually get shredded by the western winds coming in this time of the year but that is okay. Other than placing the bananas next to my home on the eastern side of the house I can do nothing to stop the winds.
These 'trees' have no woody fiber in them at all. They are mostly all water and long bits of tissue that is closely knit together. The base of the trunks are about 12' in diameter and up. They are simply works of wonder. To see a good pictures of what is inside the banana trunk do look at this post found here. Once the first hard freeze comes these 20 foot tall banana trees will be laying on the ground in a big mass. We usually try to cut them down prior to that happening but if not, it is fine. After the debris is disposed of I sometimes mulch the bed with hay, sometimes not but I do not dig them up and bring them in the house. Can you imagine how hard that would be?? These bananas have wintered over for three winters now with no problems. I place all debris from the current season's growth into the nearby compost bin. The bananas will have completely composted by next summer and will go back....
in the garden....to help provide for next year's banana trees.