Friday, June 3, 2011

lush lush summertime

the kids in the pool in the front yard
Summer really truly doesn't start for 18 more days, but this feels like the real thing.  Memorial day weekend is over, and I've heard that meterological summer starts on June 1st, and that feels right to me.  There's never been a frost recorded in the Twin Cities in June- I think the last one was on May 28th or 29th.  So it may as well be summer.

The kids were hot, and Gita went to the Y for her Zumba class, so I got out the pool and filled it up.  The kids insisted it be in the front yard- probably because the back yard is covered with poky-sharp gravel for the patio.  So I filled it up and let them play.

It has to be one of the best and easiest ways to keep kids entertained-- give them access to water and stand back.  They spent over an hour, laughing, splashing each other, dumping water out of the pool, trying to dump water on me.  It hasn't rained for a few days now, so it didn't hurt the front garden to get a few splashes of water too.

Gita picked me up from work today, and seeing a rare opportunity to bring my banana plant home without having to lug it on the bus, I took it out of the only home it's ever known and planted it in the front yard.

two banana plants- the left one packed in peat and stored in the basement all winter, the one on the right overwintered in my south-facing office window


I started these both from seed on the spring equinox in 2010.  After both seedlings were two inches or so tall, I brought both to my office to sit in the south-facing window for a month or two.  Then I transplanted one to the side yard at the end of May 2010.

The difference was amazing.  The plant in the yard had dramatic red stripes and grew to 4' tall or so.  Then, after the first frost, I cut it down, dug up the corm and overwintered it for 6 months or so in the basement.

The other plant never left the comfort of a heated, air-conditioned office with UV-tinted windows.  The result was a smaller, blander, duller plant.  A transformation not unlike what office work does to humans.

In late April I planted the corm of the overwintered one in a pot and watered it well.  It has come along pretty well- with two new leaves to show at this point.  (It is not a product of 'Proven Winners' by the way, I just happened to have the pot in the garage and I make a point of reusing my plant pots).  Now I've planted both side by side in the front yard to see what happens.

My guess is that the overwintered plant will overtake the office plant at some point, even though the office plant has the size advantage at the moment.  I'm guessing that it'll have a bit of transplant shock, and also had 7 feet of encircling roots (seriously) that I uncoiled from the bottom of the pot, and had to cut off. 

If we're really really lucky, we'll  have some bananas by the end of summer.

the ficus- outside again

fern palm- or what is the proper name for this thing?

While I was at it, I took the rest of the houseplants out for the summer.  They're looking pretty bedraggled after the long winter.  Like us, I suppose.  Plants are a pretty good mirror of our own condition.  I hope I don't look as bad as the ficus.

and this was too cute not to include.

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