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After all that snow last month, with accompanying panic involving yards of horticultural fleece and bubble-wrap, I finally got round to doing the job properly.

My poor banana plant…

I hope to goodness I’m doing this right. This year was the first time I’ve ever grown bananas, and I’ve become completely hooked – something about watching them grow by about a foot a day – but this is a bit nerve-wracking. I looked it all up, and they say you have to chop off all the leaves and put it somewhere frost-free. I’ve potted it up in a 50:50 mix of compost and sand, which should take care of the drainage, but oh it looks so miserable. To say nothing of that worrying list to the top spike. I think I may have removed one too many leaves. Well – it’ll live or it’ll die, I suppose.

More straightforward was the Musa basjoo by the pond. When you chop the leaves off this one, you don’t have to look at it as you immediately cover it in lots of straw, so you can kid yourself it’s all cosy and warm in there. I’ve used an old bit of green plastic fencing to hold it all in place, and that plastic on the top is a bit of bubble wrap just to keep the worst of the rain off and stop it all rotting. I’ll also be wrapping a couple of layers of fleece round the whole thing, partly as insurance, partly because it’ll look marginally better if I do.

I hear of lots of tales of Musa being left outside all winter long these days with never a setback, but since we’re not really within the London microclimate here and this is only a one-year-old plant, I thought I’d best not risk it. One day I’ll have a 20-ft monster which I’ll be only too pleased to have cut down by the frost – but not just yet.

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