The protection racket
We have been very lucky with autumn temperatures even though the recent wet and wind has made the garden look very autumnal. But with the end of ‘summer time’ I really need to think about colder weather so it was time to protect the banana (Musa basjoo). I didn’t bother last year and the one main stem was turned to mush over winter and I hoped that it would send up suckers from the base – which it should have done. Fortunately it had read the books and did indeed send up a couple of shoots, followed soon after by a few more. So I might have a clump next year. I can’t expect it to be cut back this hard by the cold every year and get a decent size so it was necessary to apply some protection. The usual way is to cut off the leaves and put a chicken wire cage around the stems. Then pack this with straw or bracken and top it off with some fleece. It is important to allow air circulation as well as keeping off frost. I used some wood straw that was used as packing with some plants. I did arrange it slightly better than in the photo.
A benefit of the mild autumn was the artichokes, which flowered beautifully. Though you can see that the wind pushed them at a strange angle.
I did dig some too and eat them. The variety is ‘Sugarball’ and I pan fried them with garlic, adding some stock and a splash of cider vinegar. Not only did they taste good there were no after-effects. None. That is the first time I have eaten artichokes without discomfort. I am not sure if it was the garlic or the way I cooked them or the variety. I will see what happens next time but it is a great result!
I gave up growing artichokes as they were too uncomfortable!