You might say we've been expecting for some time at Inn on Main Street. This baby has been about 12 years in the birthing.
We traded our old bistro tables and chairs to Stephen Painter several years back for a couple banana plants that he said were cold-hardy to Michigan. No, they don't grow green and bushy through the winter, but you can leave the tubers in the ground after the tops freeze each winter, and they'll come right back in the spring, even here in the mountains. Those two trees developed into a couple groves of trees, one of which makes the area around our koi pond look like a slice of Costa Rica. Our guests get a kick out of it, and the question always comes up: "Have you gotten any bananas from them?"
As Stephen, who owned Painters Greenhouse for years, tells it, a banana plant has to produce a certain number of leaves before it will flower and bear fruit. And that process normally takes two years. When winter kills the plants to the ground, the counter starts all over again next spring. We have potted banana plants that haven't produced flowers after a decade of uninterrupted growth, so we resigned ourselves to going 'nannerless.
A couple days ago, Nancy spotted what appeared to be an ear of corn growing out of one of the plants. It's a flower bud as big as Popeye's forearm, but without the anchor tattoo. The husk is starting to peel back, revealing the stamens. That last winter was so mild that our plants somehow beat the freeze, I guess.
We hope our Florida friends will forgive our breathless banana baby watch, but we can't help but get excited. We hope to keep providing updates and show the monster blossom to all our guests. And if we actually get bananas after all, so much the sweeter.
Posted on July 12, 2013