Extreme Gardening II

The Real World Consultant has been by – he has been laying the groundwork for a forthcoming Scottish Opera tour, and is taking a quiet weekend before the singers turn up and they all hit the road on Monday. He thoughtfully brought along a collection of weird seeds: The incipient Rayburn Rain Forest has now been augmented by musa coccinea (scarlet banana), musella lasiocarpa (dwarf Chinese banana) and strelitzia nicolai, which is the one which grows thirty feet high. All of the above are sitting soaking in coffee cans (the musella is in one labelled ‘a present from Cullen’), and will be consigned to compost tomorrow. Every last one of them is of course, temperamental and erratic; the strelitzia comes with a warning that it may germinate ‘up to 12 months from sowing’) and what I will do if they actually DO germinate I am not entirely sure. Hope, I suppose, that by the time the little wretches start reaching for the skies, I will be able to afford accommodation for them. But there remains a sort of mad poetry in the idea of growing bananas in Aberdeenshire, where it’s too cold even to grow a decent apple.
This has been the day of the Great Melt; the snows of few days have sogged and resolved themselves into mere wet; I reflect as I often do at this time that never, even after weeks of rain, does the terrain seem quite as soggy as it does when the snow has just gone; somehow the process of slow melting turns the topsoil into a saturated jelly. My scarf has not yet reappeared.

2 Responses to “Extreme Gardening II”

  1. Christian Port Says:


    I read the above article (Extreme Gardening II). I was wondering how the Musa coccinea germinated, and if you managed to get them to survive. Why don’t you drop me an e-mail? I am a Banana plant collector located in Liverpool. Maybe we could even swap something…


  2. Jane Says:

    I’m afraid that particular burst of Extreme Gardening was done in when we went away for a fortnight and our house sitter somehow didn’t think to water them, though other plants were carefully attended to. But we’ve kind of given up on anything more exotic than Mediterranean, because we can’t keep a high enough night temperature even in the kitchen, and at our latitude, lack of light in winter is a tremendous problem. We had some bananas in the greenhouse which were doing quite well , but there was an absolutely savage cold spell in February when temperatures plunged to minus 15 overnight, and that did for the tropicals, even in the house.

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