Bye-bye, bananas

Following the last freeze, and what made me decide to eliminate the bananas.

In recent years I’ve engaged in a campaign to make the yard more user-friendly. I’ve removed lots of plants that I ignorantly installed way back when. Some, however, were here when we purchased the double lot in 2002. Monster nopals, humongous bougainvilleas, pear trees, peach trees, gargantuan magueys, to name a few.

And my gardening chores have diminished accordingly.

We once had three stands of banana trees, but we were down to just this one. Tuesday was its day to die. In its place we now have a nice concrete and stone “table.” I plan to puchase two big decorative, clay pots to sit atop the stone.

Below you see the work under way.

A machete brings the banana trees to an ugly end on Tuesday.
The finishing touches of the murder. Rocks wait their chance.
The coast is clear! Ready for the new look.
And it gets started from the right side.
Miguel, my main man, sweeps away loose ends today.
And a new era is born at that end of the Alamo Wall.

Oiling the shelves

Nice, oiled shelves, good for another couple of months of neglect.

Home ownership brings chores you don’t face as a renter, and I did one of those chores this morning because it was long overdue. I oiled the wooden shelves on the downstairs veranda. I use Three-in-One or, as it’s called here, Tres-en-Uno.

Before tackling that chore, I completed another, which was sweeping the roof of the kitchen/dining room. Years passed in which I almost never swept up there, and quite an evil garden grew. I ignored the chore because there was no easy way to get up there, but now there is a steel stairwell, installed about three years ago.

I sweep the roof of the kitchen/dining room every month now. I get reminded by an internet calendar. I am a big (Yuge!) fan of internet calendars, and don’t know how I lived without them for most of my life. I must have forgotten many things. My current calendars are, I am ashamed to say, Google’s, but also Outlook’s and Zoho’s.

A righteous person avoids all things Google. But I am flawed.

If you tend to overlook things, especially important things, internet calendars will save your butt. Unfortunately, Google makes a very good one.

I mentioned a week or so ago that I’m going to remove the last stand of banana trees and cement over the area where it now sits, so it won’t resurrect. Earlier this week, I called one of my guys, the best one, but he’s working on another project, so I’ll wait.

I also mentioned recently our transition from music CDs to a Bluetooth speaker. No matter how old you get, life changes, hopefully for the better. I subscribed to Deezer for my tunes, and discovered lots of new music. As I write this on the PC, I’m listening to Esperanza Spalding singing, I Know You Know. I had never even heard of Esperanza before.

She sports an impressive ‘fro.

We’ll be dining on roasted chicken at El Lonch nearby this afternoon. The best roasted chicken around, plus cole slaw, rice, salsa of two shades and tortillas made by Granny on a comal over an open fire just behind our table. And a laminated roof over our heads.

I anticipate the rest of the day will play out favorably.

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.

The green life


THIS PLANT is about five inches across. It shares a brightly painted, oval, ceramic pot out on the ledge of the veranda with a few other gems of nature.

You see, I’m not just an internet polemicist, I’m an amateur gardener. Lucky for me, gardening here is mostly a matter of digging a hole and sticking something in that hole.

Then all you must do is stand back and wait. This is the sort of gardening I favor. Low effort.

This is ideal for me because I’m not merely an amateur gardener, I’m a lazy gardener. Sometimes it’s so easy that I commit errors in that I plant things I should not plant.

I know I’ve planted something I should not have planted — or quite often that my wife should not have planted because she horns into my territory now and then, creates problems and flees — when it turns into a major headache.

Over this winter, I have eliminated a great amount of greenery that should not have been planted at all. Being a lazy gardener, I get Abel the deadpan neighbor to do the hard part of chopping down and uprooting and toting away.

As reported previously, two of the three stands of banana trees have been eliminated. Not previously reported was a huge, climbing thing that was elbowing the fern on the Alamo Wall and creeping through the roof tiles of one carport.

An identical beast was in a far corner where I periodically had to chop it back to keep it from invading the neighbor’s farm shed. I favor neighborliness even if the neighbors do not.

The upshot of this year’s cutbacks is that there is more open space out in the yard. I wonder what I can fill it with?