The bananas are awake!

The weather has been great for the past few weeks (albeit rainy) and the plants around here have been taking advantage of it. After yesterday’s inch and a half of rain, today was mostly sunny and good for being outside.  I did my best to get a sunburn but as luck would have it the sun here is still too weak to do anything besides make me happy.  I got around to putting things in the ground, and I didn’t realize how many plants have been waiting for today… cordylines, fuschias, alliums, dahlias, palms, brugmansias, dracunculis, hedychiums and even an arbutus found a permanent home today.  The poppies are sprouting, the scabrida bamboo is shooting, and the bananas are popping their tops out of the ground.

Wait… what?!  The bananas are up?  It’s still March!

It doesn’t look like much.  In fact, it is kind of brown.  Definitely not the giant green leaves of a banana. Yet.

I was surprised too.  No, I didn’t overwinter the rhizomes in the garage.  They stayed out in the garden all winter, with an inch of bark mulch.  Not all of the bananas are up yet, but the basjoos are already poking out their first “leaves”.  I’m using that term loosely.  I knew they were cold hardy, but I guess being on the southern side of a shed is enough to warm them up this early.  I’ve only been keeping bananas outside here for a little while, but last year (my first spring with bananas overwintered in the ground) nothing made an appearance until most of the way through April.

You’ll have to pardon the lighting on the photos today.  I didn’t get around to taking them until it was nearly dark.  The Bletilla striata ‘Big Bob’ has doubled in size from last year.  I counted 7 new shoots unfurling today, and a few of them were a little burnt for some reason.

The Fargesia scabrida has put out some nice shoots this spring.  It is a new addition this year, and should offer a welcome lush vibe while the Fatsia japonica it neighbors recovers from a particularly harsh winter.  This is a pretty bad picture.

One of my favorite plants this time of year is the Lonicera x heckrottii ‘Firecracker’.  It stayed evergreen during our arctic blast that pushed us to zone 8a.  The leaves are a nice blue-green tone, and are slightly waxy looking.  Just a great vine! Very fast growing, so far this year the longest new tendril is about 8 inches.  That’s nearly as much as the clematis ‘Snowdrift’ (Not really.  It has put out over 2 feet of growth so far in 2014).

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