IT’S A YEARLY ritual, the scalping. Sometimes it’s more drastic than other times. I do it personally, the cutting, not the hauling away. I hire help for that.
The gardening situation here on the mountaintop, more than 7,000 feet above the faraway seas, is problematical. Things grow wildly during most of the year.
Then winter comes, sometimes calmly, sometimes not. Last winter was calm. This one is not.
When winter is calm, a minority of them, plants have a two-year span of glee. This is particularly so for the bananas, which are totally out of place here. Till the first freeze last week, they had soared up to 10 or 12 feet with wide trunks to match.
The freeze burned them to a crisp, well, actually, to a brown sag. Luckily, banana trees, no matter their height, are easy to cut. I use a small pruning saw. Though easy to saw, they can weigh a lot, and they come thundering down.
I dodge like Cassius Clay, like a geriatric butterfly.
Years ago, I drove to the tropical town of Uruapan and bought two cute little banana “trees” in cans. I planted one next to the house, and the other by the Alamo Wall. A friend who had lived in Florida said, “bad idea.” Stupidly, I ignored him.
It was like a ghetto household in Detroit. Babies appeared faster than I can count. I transplanted one out next to the street wall, giving me three banana gangs. In time I hired workmen to put cement restraints around the bases.
Now I have lost all patience. As every year after a freeze, I have cut them down, leaving stumps that rejuvenate themselves. But workmen come next week to cover two of the three mobs with cement and stone. I’ve had enough!
Another troublesome plant that also does not belong here, but is beautiful most of the year nonetheless, is the golden datura, which is also easy to cut.
It wilts quickly in a freeze, and I whack it back to its base. Like bananas, it rejuvenates in springtime.
The photo at top should be panoramic to show the pile’s true dimensions. It’s the biggest ever. Tomorrow two guys come with a pickup to haul it away, somewhere.