It was a mistake to admire the wonderful Red Abyssinian banana, Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’, in Max’s garden this morning. I think it is what is known as “tempting fate”. Like a ruddy phoenix this tender African has recently risen from the ashes. Last winter it was left outside with only a thin fleece for protection. Remiss of us. Some might say cruel. Even our mild North Devon winter is a harsh environment for a plant that prefers to stay above 7C. It was touch and go for a while, “compost heap” was muttered on more than one occasion. But we were patient (unlikely as that might sound) and prodded and peered for any sign of life for weeks on end. Then a tentative new leaf began to emerge, and all of a sudden this burnished beauty took off like rocket. Now it is lush and lovely. Any neglect has been forgotten and hopefully forgiven.
Until tea time. Sat on the bench half way up the garden, watching the white horses play on the distant sea, we enjoyed an afternoon cup of tea whilst taking it in turns to throw a stick for Max. Someone (not me and not Max) lobbed what amounted to a wooden club right into the border. The unfortunate banana received a direct hit, ripping one of its wonderful leaves down the mid rib. Later I tidied up the wound, carefully removing the damaged section, all the while apologising profusely. It is now sporting a rather cheeky peek-a-boo look.
I gave the missing piece to Max’s Dad to make himself a hat. Out of tragedy comes high fashion.