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Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Some Answers Come Quickly; Frday the Thirteenth part 7

 
You may need a soundtrack for what follows.
 
Warning:  The following images contain graphic depictions of plant death and may not be suitable for all viewers. 

After arriving home on Thursday evening, I took the dogs outside and saw that the musa basjoos, whose pseudostems I'd hoped would live through our recent cold snap, made it quite clear that they  had not survived. 

 Usually the stems remain upright through the winter because the leaves are fairly dry and light.  However, this season, there was still a bit of heavy green foliage on the plants before the freeze, too much for the compromised stems to hold.  Down the 15 foot mass of soaked leaves and stems crashed making a big pile of mush.
 I worked a few leaves away from the camellia and rhododendron they were crushing.  The weight actually broke a bamboo stake that was supporting the camellia .  The banana has died to the ground before but has never collapsed in such a dramatic manner  in the course of a day. 
 This stuff is wet, slippery and slimy, resembling snot covered fish guts.  (Lovely image, yes?)  The lovely bonus of this slimy mess is that it's all connected by strong fibers for which the plant is grown which makes the clean u[ that much more special.  There's enough here to fill a couple of compost bins.  I'll chop up as much as I can and leave it in situ to decompose, the rest will go to the compost bin where it breaks down  surprisingly quickly.  There is some hope that the stems beneath the breaks might hold up and give some additional starting height next spring.  I suppose the good news is that I won't be putting off the banana clean up like I usually do and after doing it wonder why I didn't do it sooner because it opens up an interesting view.

What a difference a few days  can make!





Or a few weeks.


 
That's the roof of our garage on the left side of the picture.  Fortunately the banana will come back in the spring but it will take it a couple of years to reach this height again.

I don't have the heart to go check on the Melianthus major quite yet.  O.K. all of you who've just been through this cold snap, do you have any damage to report yet?  Bring out your dead!

26 comments:

  1. Ewww, slimy. That's a good one for Friday the 13th. There are quite a few dead plants in my garden this year as the cold stuck around too long.

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    1. Oh well, it makes for good plant shopping opportunities next year, right?

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  2. Yep, looks like your garden sneezed and left an enormous pile of mucus. Bummer. My two Melianthus are toast, I think. But I think most everything else will come through ok. Although I didn't get my Eucalyptus planted, so I'm not sure how it's doing. Most of the leaves are a funny orangey color.

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    1. Yes, a big banana booger! Sometimes Melianthus will come back from their roots. I'm not touching those until summer! Your Eucalyptus might have made it if it was really sheltered close to the house.

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  3. Oh I can almost smell that slimy mass through the computer screen! Since my banana wasn't that big if it does collapse it won't be so dramatic. I think the gooiest mass I'll be dealing with is my Mangave 'Macho Mocha' it's not yet completely fallen apart but will soon I'm sure.

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    1. It smells like very green bananas. I'd better get out there soon before it starts not smelling so good. Sorry about your Mangave. Sad that the phormiums won't be showing any signs of damage for a while yet.

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  4. I'm so sorry for your lovely banana, Peter. You've obviously had some frost as well...

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    1. Oh, that happens every two or three years but it will come back. Yes, we had very cold temperatures for our location.

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  5. Sorry about the banana. It looked fantastic next to that red maple! Have you ever moved one? Mine is in encroaching shade and only gets about 4' tall these days, so its crash is not near as dramatic as yours! Fabulously appropriate music - love that!

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    1. Hopefully the roots are o.k. and it will return in the spring. While I've never moved one myself, Jerry at Jungle Fever says that they move really easily but you have to get a good rootball.

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  6. Oh, the carnage! I knew I'd get a good understanding of the cold snap from you, Peter. That banana says it all. And I also spy abutilons, brugmansias. Maybe those made it inside in time. Let's hope that's the most cold we'll see this winter.

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    1. No more cold would be fine with me! The brugmansias are nestled all snug in the glass room or the basement but the abutilons are out there and exposed. Abutilon megapotamicum makes it through most of our winters but sometimes I have to replace them. This may be a replacement year or they may just surprise me. They grow in large pots and the replacement years give me a chance to replinish the potting soil.

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  7. Oh no :( at least you know it will come back from the ground but what a sight it was when it was tall and have a decent sized pseudo stems!

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    1. Some things are just too good to last. Oh well, my garden does need some editing. I'm thinking that acacia pravissima will also be a goner this year among many others.

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  8. Ohhh noooo, I'm sorry for those bananas, they were so impressive!!

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    1. Oh well there's always next year, right?

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  9. You won't believe this. I had just checked our banana yesterday after reading Thursday's post. Standing tall. I read about your casualty but didn't check our right away. My husband and I were talking about your and finally looked out to check ours - the same thing happened. It just collapsed overnight or early today. Same thing - all the stalks and leaves. Sigh.. But that is gardening in the PNW. I have some pictures up of our 'collapse'.

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    1. OMG, how funny is that? I know they'll grow back but it is sad to see them in a big pile like that.

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  10. Peter, my heart can't take this kind of devastation and slim so I stopped growing tender perennials. Love my evergreen ferns and dwarf conifers this time of year: they keep the garden (and me) going for the next few months. Meanwhile, my stinking hellebore is budding. I'm grateful for small miracles.

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    1. It's better to have loved and lost and all that but I'm not looking forward to today's slime fest! The evergreens are a blessing this time of year! Happy to hear about your stinking hellebore, I'll have to go check mine!

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  11. Snot-covered fish guts! What a scream. At least they don't smell like that- yet. I also had my hopes dashed too many times by plant losses and try for zone 5 or even 4. I'm amazed the banana can rise again from the slime. Good for it.

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    1. Musa basjoo is root hardy to zone 7, 6 with protection so I'm not worried about it coming back in the spring. Now, what to do with all those fish guts...

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  12. How sad! (and slimy) I can't believe it will come back for you. Mine would be lost forever. I do hope you donned your mask and chainsaw to cut it back. Wouldn't that make the neighbors talk!

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    1. Oh, it's nice and mushy and only needs a knife to slice through the fibers. It feels like cutting melon. However, I love the mask and chainsaw idea!

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  13. Very interesting, actually. Here they shred from the wind and get brown and crispy. I like the slimy booger look, it's a refreshing contrast to our local dessication.

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    1. The mucus is always greener on the other side of the fence I suppose.

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Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your thoughts.