Every garden tour is different from the next. Each has its own personality due to the time of year, time of the day and the questions people ask. During last Saturday's tour, a benefit for the Portland Reading Foundation, the main two questions were about the growing conditions and identification two plants,
Musa basjoo and Calamagrostis brachytricha.
'What did you do to those banana (Musa basjoo) trees?'
I believe the Musa basjoo in my garden grow well due to moisture-retentive soil, good drainage and lack of winter winds. I started this stand 6 years ago from a 'pup' growing in my first Musa basjoo clump (2004). The 'pup' was approximately 24" tall when I planted it. The resulting stand receives protected Western exposure (from the street trees on the other side of the fence) and low to moderate summer water. Occasionally, I fertilize with a balanced organic fertilizer applied in the spring/early summer. I do not wrap the trunks, nor do I protect the root zone with cut foliage through the winter. This year is the second time the Musa basjoo have bloomed and produced fruit in my garden. After fruiting that trunk will die but many more 'pups' will emerge next spring. Some winters will freeze the trunks to the ground, others winters (like last) will allow the trunks survive- at varying heights.
I thoroughly enjoy gardening with bananas. I often imagine that I'm in a jungle, pruning saw in hand, slicing and chopping until the 'right' amount of light pierces through the dense foliage to reveal a forest of papery, green, yellow and pink trunks.
|6 year old stand of Musa basjoo|
What is that grass?Planted last year, Calamagrostis brachytricha catches the Autumn light beautifully. The grass in bloom is approximately 4' tall by 4' wide. I'm growing it in partial sun and it receives low to moderate summer water which I'll lessen next year. It has a medium green 1/2" or wider blade which appears lush all year. It has not run or seeded about in my garden YET but I imagine that it will in the future.