The Gardens of Chiconia 50

Are you sick of bananas yet?

No? Good, because here’s another update. Can you see now how the stem develops?  Between each of those dark red bracts (the petal things) is a row of flower buds, and the bracts open in sequence. Each flower becomes a baby banana, and as they mature, they start to point upwards and flare away from the bracts, leaving space for the next row down to develop.

I watched this afternoon as a Blue-Faced Honey Eater, a Noisy Friarbird and a Yellow Honey Eater all fought for access to the flowers. I took a look at the stem later on, and I could see why: there’s so much nectar it’s dribbling out of the flowers and onto the bract below – you can see it in the photo above. The flowers are looking a bit battered after their attentions, too. The nectar has also brought the green ants in, attracted by the sugar. When the time comes I shall have to blast the fruit with the hose to prevent getting bitten as I cut a hand of bananas away – those ants are very aggressive and the bite is quite painful. I’ll also need to stop them building one of their huge nests in the flower. I won’t be using any chemicals; water will be enough to discourage them.

I’ll wait and see what interesting thing this thing does next!

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28 thoughts on “The Gardens of Chiconia 50

  1. This is fascinating. Thank you for the up close look and description!

  2. kathyreeves says:

    And now reporting live….this is every bit as good as the eagle cam we watched one year…and more noticeable happenings too! 😍

  3. tialys says:

    Love the names of the birds. Do they eat the ants? It would make ‘nature’ sense wouldn’t it.

    • katechiconi says:

      Yes, they’ll also eat ants, but eat nectar for preference; insects are the fallback food. The ants, incidentally are also acid-sweet tasting; they’re a traditional Aboriginal food.

  4. nanacathy2 says:

    My mouth is watering for those bananas. We need a slow motion camera for them so we can see the changes day by day. We can call it Banana Watch.

    • katechiconi says:

      You’d also get some supersonic birds and light-speed ants blurring past! I’m sorely tempted to post daily, but I don’t think the world is ready for daily updates from My Backyard (yawn….)!

      • Chris S in Canada says:

        I think a real-time cam would be pretty awesome actually! Kind of like the cameras that are in barns when shepherds are waiting for sheep births. (or piglet births, like at The Kitchens Garden one year.) Readers could check in a couple times a day (or more) to watch something we’ll never see live! Call me crazy, you won’t be the first. Probably not the last either for that matter.

        I so love bananas, a taste I think I inherited from my dad. To have them growing in my very own backyard would be the height of luxury! You might think it boring, but you may be underestimating the interest from your northern readers.

        Chris S in Canada

      • katechiconi says:

        I think they probably grow too slowly for live cam to make any sense, but a once-a-day shot would clearly show progress. Having said that, there are a LOT of bananas to come on that stem and I for one would lose the will to live long before the last lot showed. I’m afraid the bananiacs will have to content themselves with the occasional post as a milestone is reached 🙂 These particular bananas are quite delicious and you never see them in the shops, so I’m delighted the tree decided to produce after 3 years. I’m even more delighted there’s a sucker beside it to come on when this one dies, as it will once the fruit is finished.

  5. gwenniesgardenworld says:

    Bananas in your own garden !!! I’d love that !! Cos we had a tropical Summer I now have lots and lots of grapes in the greenhouse.

    • katechiconi says:

      That would be lovely too – we can’t grow them here.

      • gwenniesgardenworld says:

        You can’t grow grapes in your garden ???There is Australian wine.

      • katechiconi says:

        There’s a LOT of Australian wine (last year we exported 811,000,000 litres), but it’s all grown much further south, in temperate zones. I live north of the Tropic of Capricorn, and the tropical climate is not suitable for grapes, apples, pears, peaches, cherries, etc. However, I CAN grow bananas, pineapples, guavas, mangos, passionfruit, custard apples, lychees and all kinds of citrus.

      • gwenniesgardenworld says:

        Well I guess every climate zone has it advantages and disadvantages…

  6. Observing and waiting… the joys of gardening ☺

  7. KerryCan says:

    I love the names of those birds! I’ve never heard of any of them–they sound like they belong in myth. Your world seems very exotic to a farmer girl from upstate New York . . .

    • katechiconi says:

      It’s very different too from the south-of-England farmland I grew up in!
      Australian birds often have wonderful names: Spangled Drongo, Beautiful Firetail, Splendid Fairy Wren, Satin Bowerbird, Trumpet Manucode, Paradise Riflebird, Red-Whiskered Bulbul… I could go on!

  8. dayphoto says:

    O! So very exciting! I find this so much fun, reading and watching about bananas as they GROW!

  9. Lynda says:

    I always knew they grew up. I just didn’t know how or why. I also didn’t know how FAST they grow. Nope, not tired of bananas yet. 😀

    • katechiconi says:

      Once all the babies have emerged from the stem, it’ll take a few months for them to grow to full size and ripen; this stage is interesting, but for a while after that, it’ll be watching grass grow.

  10. this is brilliant!! Thanks

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