The work of winter

Sprightly and happy in the summer.

This is how the golden datura looks in the summertime, but when winter freezes descend, it gets knocked for a dreadful loop, turns brown and ugly, and that’s when I whack it back, the same every year. The datura does not care. It bides its time till spring.

Bare bones in the winter. Datura wood is very soft, easy to cut.

Between first breakfast at 8:30 and second breakfast at 11, I grabbed the proper tools, and attacked the drooping, brown datura, or what was left of it, and returned it to basics.

The last three nights have brought freezes, and here’s how the cold left the sole remaining stand of banana trees. We once had three. Now we have just one, one too many.

Isn’t this just delightful? Photographed this morning.

Lying in bed before dawn today, I got to thinking. Every year I am faced with this problem. At that moment, a lightbulb lit over my head. Do what I’ve done to most all the bothersome plants in the last few years. Whack it down! The decision was made.

Right there lying in bed.

And that’s what I’m going to do. I won’t whack it down personally, of course. Too old and shiftless. That’s why God made workmen. I will hire it out. I have guys. They will remove the banana trees and then cover the area with concrete and stone, which is the only way to guarantee the banana trees will not return.

The buggers have underground runners.

Visible in the bottom photo, between the bananas and the back of the Honda, against the orange wall, is a raised area of concrete and rock. That’s where one of the other stands of banana was removed a few years ago. Now a pot containing nopal sits there.

Long ago, when I planted the first stand of bananas, a Gringo friend here who hailed from Florida warned me against it. I ignored him, which I now regret. One should always pay attention to Floridians who warn against banana trees.

Surprisingly, when I told my child bride of the impending banana removal, she did not moan, a happy surprise because she almost always opposes plant removal. She opposes plant removal because she never works in the yard. The yard is my headache alone.

I don’t know why she’s on board with this plan. Maybe because the banana trees are so butt-ugly this morning. I wish the freezes would stop, but winter is young.

11 thoughts on “The work of winter

  1. I remember when I planted a sole banana tree in our yard in Bucerias. Before three years we had a grove. They are much like aspen trees here in Colorado. They grow up off of root up shoots and are very invasive. Best to get rid of them!

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    1. Mike: This is just one, the latest, of many examples of live-and-learn for me regarding the yard and the plants I install there. I overdid it years ago, and now I’m paying the grim price.

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  2. “The buggers have underground runners.”

    You bet they do. Now and then, bananas drop their masks and reveal their heritage as an herb (instead of a “tree”) — distantly related to ginger which also has an invasive nature. And, while we are at it, what we call the fruit of the plant is botanically a berry.

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    1. Señor Cotton: Well, now, I did not know any of that. You are, and not for the first time, a fount of useful information. Thanks.

      Hey, you want a banana tree cutting? No charge.

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  3. I’m glad I am not a plant in your yard. Have you tried rosebushes? You can beat them to bits in the winter, and they’ll come back quickly in the spring, forgiving you for your destructive nature.

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    1. Phil: I am with plants as I am with people. Make a mess, act badly, etc., and you’re out of my life. But if you’re well-behaved, pick up after yourself, etc., I am delighted to have you around.

      I have planted a total of three rosebushes over the years. I now have just one, having removed the other two for various infractions. The last was removed just two weeks ago by Abel the Deadpan Yardman. I had him pull it up because it had gone through about three years without forming a single flower. If you’re gonna be a rosebush, you gotta make roses, ¿no?

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  4. Now tell us what happened with the bougainvillea. I love the look of them in my neighbors’ yards, but they have way too many thorns for my yard. The suffer terribly in freezes. Yes, the best way to deal with them is with someone else’s hands and arms.

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    1. Señor Gill: I whacked the monster bougainvillea way, way back, and now it’s a waist-high bush that I keep that size. I have four others that I maintain with stern discipline at a reasonable size. Oddly, they don’t seem to care if it freezes. Plus, I never, ever water them. Don’t want to encourage the little creeps in any way. The lack of water does not faze them. They get enough, I guess, during the rainy season.

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  5. Bougainvillea thrives on abuse. Don’t water it, and it blooms beautifully.
    Chop it back, and it springs back in no time. When it freezes, it looks ugly for just a short time. It is a survivor.

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  6. I was thinking of a banana tree, but after this info I will not be planting one. Our yard is full of plants and small trees, but almost everything is in a pot except the roses I water and fertilize and have blooms all year. I have palm trees that I would like to cut down, but I am out-voted. The bougainvillea is around back and works as a privacy fence, still makes a bit of a mess in the wind, but not where I can see it much, so it will stay.

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