It's that time of year when I, in 5 minutes, drastically change the look of my back garden.
Sadly, it is time to prepare the hardy bananas (Musa basjoo) for the winter.
First, let's take a quick look at these beauties, still contributing in a positive way even though their foliage has been fried by several nights below freezing:
I think they probably topped out at about 18' (5.4m) when the leaves were still upright. So big!
With low temperatures of about 16ºF (-9ºC) forecast for last week, I had to protect the pseudostems...
...which are so impressive this year!
There are so many of them too!
As much as I hate seeing these huge plants go, I have to admit that chopping them down is quite a bit of fun. Just a single swing with a machete and each pseudostem is sliced through.
Here's the result:
The cut stems leak so much "water"...
...and quickly oxidize:
After hauling the heavy tops to the compost pile, I raked some leaves over the base of the stems. In past years I've heaped it up several feet deep inside a temporary fence, but I'm taking a more relaxed approach this year.
Then I moved several potted bamboos into the area...
...and put a plastic sheet over the whole thing:
I used a single pole to keep it up, creating a little "greenhouse" (I hope). This will keep the area dry and also provide some cold protection if all goes as expected. The bamboos were going to hold the plastic up, but I then decided that a pole would be best. I'm not sure exactly what the pots will contribute but I wasn't going to move them out again.
It just doesn't look as tropical, does it?
You know, it's quite amazing how much those plants push up out of the ground each year. Hauling it around the yard really drives that home.