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Stone transition to backyard complete; I’m done growing bananas.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

February
12
2013
The completed backyard gate stone transition.

The completed backyard gate stone transition.

I had a busy work day yesterday, but I managed to sneak away on my lunch hour and finish up the stone transition that Lisa and I worked on over the weekend. All I really had to do was tweak some of the stones’ leveling and then sweep in some paver sand.

Lisa and I are really happy with how this little project came out. The thick grass in that spot used to make the gate very difficult to open and close, but with the attractive stone transition the gate opens freely.

Eventually we’re going to expand the transition into a walkway that will wind around the entire pond. That will be a pretty big project.

Closer shot of the stone transition.

Closer shot of the stone transition.

Many of you know that for the past couple of years we’ve grown banana plants in our backyard. The first year we grew the bananas (2011) a couple of hard freezes wiped out the entire crop of fruit. In 2012 the plants fruited a couple of months earlier than they did in 2011, and we also had a very mild winter. So we should be knee-deep in bananas about now, right?

Wrong.

Can you believe that the bananas that emerged all the way back in October are still not fully developed? I guess the fruit can take 4-5 months before it’s ready to come off the plant. The problem is banana plants do not like the cold. Even though we had a very mild winter (I think we barely touched freezing on one night for about 1 or 2 hours, and I even wrapped the bananas) the actual bananas don’t look too good. There are brown spots all over the fruit, and I am starting to have my doubts that we’ll ever get to eat a homegrown banana.

Added to that, once the banana plants produces fruit they no longer create new fronds. The old fronds turned brown months ago, and so for the past few months we’ve got these really ugly 8′ brown banana plants blighting our landscape.

Wait, there’s more. Banana plants are heavy feeders. I have diligently fertilized (and manually watered in the fertilizer) every two weeks. All I have to show for it is some spotted fruit and some very ugly brown plants. Even if these plants produced 2,000 perfect bananas, I suspect the fertilizer costs more than what it would have run me to buy the damn things at the store.

Finally, banana plants have really weak root systems. One of our banana plants was blown over on a windy day, and the remaining two had to be staked.

I'll be replacing the three banana plants behind the sago with Foxtail palms.

I’ll be replacing the three banana plants behind the sago with Foxtail palms.

I love the way the banana plants look when they are in their prime, but they are a pain in the butt and they look horrible once they fruit and the fronds turn brown.

I’m done with banana plants. Well, at least in my landscapes. I may take one of the new shoots (which is another maintenance item that is time-consuming: new shoots must be diligently removed, and they come up constantly) and try growing one in a container.

So this weekend I’m digging up all of the banana plants. Good riddance. I’m going to replace the banana plants with a cluster of three Foxtail palms, just like the one I planted in the front bed last week. Check out the photo to the right: the banana plants are shown on the top left. The Foxtails will fit the tropical theme I’ve got going on around the pond, will require significantly less maintenance and feeding than the banana plants and will look great year-round.

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