Friday, June 6, 2008

A Box Of Tropical

The most amazing package arrived in the mail a couple of days ago from Raleigh, North Carolina. A former resident of the island of Maui had been getting some of her tropical fix from my island gardening blog, Tropical Embellishments. Perhaps a bit confused and a little sad, she watched my move to the high mountains Outside Clyde, NC and decided to send me a great big box of Aloha.

The main event is two Musa basjoo, a Japanese Fiber Banana that is said to be hardy to as low minus five degrees if properly mulched. This box of tropical also came with an Ensete maurelii, a handful of seedling Sabal minor and eight assorted Alocasia and Colocasia. All the plants were well rooted, a nice big size and expertly packed. I was blown away.

There has been a new addition to the front entry bed that I have been anticipating since late last fall. Imagine driving all the way to the scenic top of a mountain in North Carolina and what do you see? Bananas growing by the side of the road. I hope it doesn't cause any accidents, but it most certainly appeals to my sense of the absurd. Besides something important, something bold, needs to mark the entrance to Ku'ulei 'Aina.

Your typical country roadside vegetable garden on one side. This picture could be an ad for the weed suppressing power of a thick layer of mulch. Good thing all the weeds outside the mulch are pretty and attract tons of beneficial insects.

The bananas arrived at the perfect time, with the onset of our hot weather, to be added to other side of the entry. It almost hit 80 degrees up here this week. Close, anyway. If it stays nice and hot, these bananas could reach ten feet by the end of the season. Won't that be somethin'?

T and I met online in the forums at Dave's Garden. We had a tropical connection. Now there is a closer NC connection with a tropical twist. The beautiful collection of Elephant Ears and other goodies will be potted up to decorate the decks for the summer. There is a good chance they will be house plants in a brand new cozy little cabin this winter. It has lots of big west facing windows and will get ample light. Soon enough they will grace the patio built with dry stacked stone walls beneath the cabin.

Mahalo T. There are two Musa basjoo planted in the low spot on a North Carolina mountaintop because of you.


Anonymous said...

You must have made quite an impression on certain generous folks, Christopher. First that incredible quilt and now a box of huge tropical plants (how did they even fit in that box?!). Imagining bananas growing on your N.C. mountain is making me smile.

chuck b. said...

How nice--you're going to have all kinds of stuff from all over, and so much of it with a personal connection.

Les said...

I was given M. basjoo about 6 years ago. It was only about 6" tall, but now it borders on weed status. I have to cull off-shoots every year or it will crowd out other plants. I realize that I am in a warmer climate than you, but I think you will be able to succeed with it. Maybe you should post a sign on the road that warns people of exotic foliage ahead, kind of like a "watch for falling rock" or "deer crossing" sign.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What a hoot to be driving along and find bananas growing along the side of the road. That will be a traffic stopper.

Anonymous said...

Amazing story. Ain't the internet wonderful?? Rather than being isolating as some experts predicted, it proves to be more connecting.
"Hot" - 80? Huh. Try 94 here in old Virginny.


lisa said...

I bet musa will do fine for you. I tried it last year in zone 4, but didn't mulch it well enough. I may "sacrifice" another at some point, or just try and keep one in the house. I like the red one, 'Siam Queen' for a houseplant. Heh..."tropical plants ahead, gawk at your own risk"...there's a sign you won't see everyday. :)