U.S.A., Washington State. USDA zone 8b. Sunset climate zone 5

Friday, November 28, 2014

Abyssinian Banana Overwintering

It became one of my favorites the moment I saw it - big dark leaves, strong stem, overall tropical look and not-prohibitive price.
Abyssinian Banana (Red Maurelii), Ensete (Musa) ventricosum (Ethiopian Banana, Red Abyssinian Banana, False Banana).

Even if they won't survive the winter, it was worth it to have the plants from May to November.  I bought two of them last year. 
They grew well, one planted in the ground and another in a big container.

In 2013, the Abyssinian Banana in the container was underplanted with white petunia.

When last fall came, they looked so good, that I decided to take one of them inside. 
It was bulky, but I found a place for it in the house with some afternoon sun.
 Unfortunately, a heating vent was nearby.
In a couple of months, it didn't look well, and I moved it into the garage, eventually cutting the stem.
The garage is not heated but never gets extremely cold.
Planted outside in May, it grew into a giant.

June 2013, after overwintering in the garage

The second plant wasn't so lucky. I cut it down, dug it out and moved it into the container with mulch, but didn't get it inside promptly. It rottened no thanks to the rain and cold.

Last May, I bought two new plants for a slightly higher price, and together with the one from 2013, they served as beautiful focal points in the garden.

In 2014, the Abyssinian Banana in the container was underplanted with Sweet Potato Vine
and Salvia 'nemorosa 'Sensation white'

This plant in front of the house is facing east and has morning and early afternoon sun

This plant behind the house is facing west and has afternoon sun

Neither of my plants had a full sun location. Nevertheless, they seemed to be happy.
Guess which one of them grew the biggest and looked the best?
The old one which spent the winter of 2013/2014 indoors! 
This one:

This plant behind the house faces west, grows in part shade and has some afternoon sun

November came, and I decided to move all three plants into the garage. 
Two plants were dug out and moved as they were, with their giant leaves untouched.
The plants don't have big root balls. I kept as much soil around the root balls as possible and  filled big black nursery containers with bark mulch.

Notice how much bushier this 2nd year plant is:

The third plant, below, due to the lack of space in the garage, was cut down before moving. 
I'll let it go dormant.

I hope all three of them will survive, and I can enjoy them next season! 
Such a treasure for the garden!

Abyssinian Banana (Red Maurelii) Ensete (Musa) ventricosum (Ethiopian Banana, Red Abyssinian Banana)
Native to East Africa
Tender perennial in our climate
Hardiness: Zone 9-11
Growth rate: Fast
Size: 15-20 feet tall (approx. 8-10 feet in our climate), 10-15 feet wide (approx. 7 feet in our climate)
Leaves: Up to 10 feet long, green/burgundy
Flowering: It's said to flower only in tropical climate
What it loves: Heat and humidity, rich  well-drained soil, abundant water
I like the plant's profile from Louis the Plant Geek

Here is my detailed report about A. Bananas overwintering (4/11/2015): Abyssinian Banana Trees Overwintered

***Copyright 2014 TatyanaS

Monday, November 17, 2014

Garden's View - First Half of November, Before the Freeze

The first half of November didn't look very autumnal in my garden.
A large number of evergreen plants kept it enthusiastically bright and cheerful.
Grapes, Hosta and Japanese maples gave the garden most of its yellow and crimson colors.

Yellow and red leaf grapevines with Solomon Seal (Polygonatum multiflorum ) in between

I am in love with grapes which grow in my garden not only for fruit (that I have very few) but mostly for the look.
Their climbing ability is so important for the garden's vertical effect, and the patterns which the vines create are pleasant for the eye. What to say about changing colors!

Japanese Aralia (Fatsia japonica) has a long bloom period.
All my three plants are in bloom now.

Like my grape plants, some of the Japanese maples grow in containers. This one was found as a seedling in our garden. Since every landscape in the neighborhood has maples, it's impossible to establish the parenthood.

The working table was cleaned  and cleared from all the summer stuff as well as tons of twigs, seeds and cones shaken from the trees by a recent windstorm.

Amur is the garden dog who supervises all my work.

Is it time to get the ducks into the garage?

I'm very pleased, so far, with the groundcover, Soleirolia / helxine soleirolii  (Baby’s Tears, Angel’s Tears).
I hope I can have it under control in this area separated from other parts of my garden!  
Removing parts of it doesn't look difficult.

The next picture is to remember the size of Tetrapanax, before the freeze came.

All the pots are emptied and cleaned; however,  I am not so good every year. Sometimes, they are just emptied.

The hosta is the only one in the autumn mood here:

 In the terrace garden, there are more fall hues thanks to the perennials.

As in other parts of the garden, grapes take the central stage here.
I even allowed one vine to climb the fir tree:

Blue flowers of  Salvia 'Black and Blue' can be seen together with fuchsia bright flowers:

Recently, I found some pictures of this corner without the gazebo. Clearly, it was a good decision to put the gazebo here. Three grape plants were also a good choice.

Lacecap Hydrangea Angel's Blush

My only pampas grass didn't produce any flower stalks again. Somehow, I don't miss them.

New in my garden, Spanish daisy (Erigeron 'Profusion Mix') is still blooming:

Snapdragon is pretty bold to bloom in November, the same as some shrub roses and Ceniranthus:

But, the best bloomer is  fuschia. This is, if I am not mistaken, Dollar Princess:

November sun is precious!

Both of my Clematis montana plants haven't changed their foliage to yellow yet.

If not for the reddish hue on the Burning bush, who would guess it's November!

Oakleaf hydrangea is getting some purple on its leaves:

The colors of the front garden are quite spectacular in the early morning.
Japanese maple, Red Abyssinian Banana, Sedum 'Autumn Joy' and two big Fuschia bushes provide splashes of bright color:

Young Japanese maple 'Autumn moon' shed almost all of its yellow leaves, while the mature Japanese maple further in the background is in its full bright yellow armor:

Abyssinian Banana in this picture, as well as two others, were dug out and moved into the garage a week ago.

Knockout roses say: Summer! Japanese maple says: Fall!

In the next picture, Japanese Aralia in bloom can be seen  with a small bush of  Edgeworthia papyrifera in front of it.  
I believe it's supposed to bloom much later, but it already has small white flowers which are not fully opened yet:

I like Astilbe's  brown colors, and I'm glad I didn't cut it!

Neighbors'  beautiful maple's foliage is an additional bonus:

The first low temperatures made some foliage wilt, but all in all there is no big damage so far.

I am joining Pam Penick  for Foliage Follow-Up.

***Copyright 2014 TatyanaS

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