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Member Introductions This is the `tell us about yourself` category. Please make an introductory post here, let us know a little about yourself. A perfect place to break the ice.

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Old 03-20-2009, 01:27 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Pinwheel Hi From Jacksonville

Hello, my name is John, I'm a civil engineer working for the Navy in north Florida. I bought a house here a year ago and have been busily landscaping it to suit my notion of what looks "tropical." (They tell me everyone who moves to Florida goes through this phase.) Along with the obligatory palms and citrus, I put in three Musa "ice cream" bananas last spring (purchased from a local nursery) and was amazed how fast they put out leaves and shot up.
It was also nice that one of the three adult ice creams (planted near a heat-radiating south-facing wall) made it through half a dozen freezes still with green leaves on top, while the pups on the other two already are putting out green leaves like crazy (mid March).
Since the bananas have been so much fun, I've decided to branch out and try all kinds. I have ordered three Siam rubies for a special place in the front, so there's a start.
I haven't found any specialty nurseries in my area, but I'm planning to do at least one "road trip" down to central/south Florida over the next couple weeks to hunt bananas and maybe ginger too.
I'll be reading through your past threads in coming days to glean wisdom and locate neighbors in the region, and also hope to share some photos and accounts of my own adventures if only to document how not to do things.
Looking forward to participating in the forum, thanks for letting me be one of the bunch!
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Old 03-20-2009, 04:22 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Joy Re: Hi From Jacksonville

Hi John, you came to the rite place! Welcome to the board!
Best of luck to your future acquisitions and do keep us posted.

Tog Tan has sadly suddenly passed away 6/16/09. We will miss you Tog Tan.
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Old 03-20-2009, 04:34 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hi From Jacksonville

Welcome Bluejay , you've certainly found the right place. "Ice creams" are a great first choice , one of my favorites . Look up "Going Bananas" nursery I'm not sure where in florida they are in relation to you but are a good start and are nice people to deal with. I'm sure the other florida groweres here will help you out as well. Good luck, Bob
Click for Morris Plains, New Jersey Forecast
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Old 03-20-2009, 06:19 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hi From Jacksonville

Welcome aboard BlueJay. The Mayport area is a good place to grow tropicals!
As Bob suggested, his name is Don, located in Homestead is a good place to get bananas and more. His is semper fidelis. Homestead will put you in the middle of the highest concentration of tropical plant nurseries in the United States.

Welcome aboard!
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Old 09-12-2010, 09:17 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Talking Re: Hi From Jacksonville

Thanks for your kind welcomes... actually my posting was in early 2009 and just now seems to be visible to all (at least the replies are coming in now) - sort of a time warp, like when Captain Kirk took the Enterprise back in time to bring a pair of banana trees back to the future - you remember that movie, right? I think Khan was chasing him? Anyway I appreciate your welcomes!

Just to update - my three ice cream bananas have been a delight, growing in summer 2009 and 2010 to 10-14' high and producing a beautiful purple flower last fall that lasted for a month. (Fruit never got past little finger stage but no matter!) This past winter as most are no doubt aware, there was a hard, hard regional freeze; here in Jacksonville, we got 9 straight nights of 22 degree weather. My trees survived it tolerably well, and I cut them back around 4' tall and they popped out leaves like crazy in the late spring.

Managing the pups has been fun. I took 9 pups from my three baby trees-turned-giant clumps and shared them with family and friends. (They're growing well for everyone.) Brown leaves go on the compost pile, and fallen 'trunks' lie where they fall in the garden atop the mulch, to provide anole habitat and wind up as mulch themselves.

I had less luck, however, with red bananas. My three mail-order Siam rubies all failed; one rotted in the ground before the week was out but the guy in PA took so long to send it (and some phone badgering) that I didn't bother contacting him for another. I dug up the other two corms to overwinter them, but one had done poorly and never came back, the other had reached 3 feet in the ground but also died in the garage. I didn't water them so I don't think they rotted, they just lacked vitality. (A banana with no 'mana,' badaboom!)

However, I bought two other potted red banana trees from a big box store in late 2009 - they appear to be Siam ruby or a look-alike since leaves are almost wholly bright red - and they have survived in pots, although restricted in height to about 2 feet. That's fine. Each has several 6-inch pups. In the spring I will break them up and put some in the garden and leave a couple in pots for surety. Don't think I'm going to wow the neighbors with towering red banana trees in the front yard as I'd originally hoped, though.

I visited the web site several of you recommended and am excited to move on beyond the ice creams and the Siam rubies. I'd like a cool climate nanner that also bears fruit - ideally a named species, not a number, but I'm going to let the shopkeeper guide my choice. Also open to suggestion, I have a great spot in my back yard already picked out! I think if I order now, I'll get leafy corms more likely to make it, vs. the little shriveled sweet potato-looking things they send out in February.
Anyway, thanks again for the camaraderie and good advice! I'll update again later.

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Old 09-12-2010, 09:36 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Pinwheel Re: Hi From Jacksonville

I'm sorta slow but Hello John and Welcome Aboard.
It is always nice meeting new folks. I have Red banana "blood Banana" it is only plant of Banana I have but I make up for it with Sedums, Semps, bog plants. Brugmansias. I love plants inside and out.
Welcome again.
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