For the last week or so, we have been having winter in Austin. " Baby, It's Cold Outside"! The low temps overnight have been in the high 20s, with daytime highs right around 50F. Not my favorite weather, but bearable. This, however, is not one of my usual (and futile) complaints about cold weather! As I said, the highs around 50F with the sun shining, really doesn't feel too bad. My entire exposure to the outside air is limited to the time it takes me to walk from my car to the entrance of the store, restaurant, house, or whatever I am visiting. Hardly long enough to even get a real chill.
Some plants, on the other hand, do not stand a chance! This, of course, is not their fault. It is just that there are some people who insist on planting things that are not meant to grow in this climate! Not only do they plant the wrong things, they do nothing to protect them when the temps fall below their tolerance level. Some folks just don't get the idea that in a battle between Man and Nature, Nature will ALWAYS win. ALWAYS!
For instance, there is a house not far from here that I pass everyday on my way in and out of the neighborhood. Several years ago, they put in a pool in their backyard. The house was subsequently on the market and I went to an open house, The backyard pool area was a lovely tropical paradise. In the middle of summer it looked terrific, like a resort in the Caribbean, filled with lush plants and gorgeous blooms. And in the corner of the yard were planted several Banana plants. Banana plants have lovely, long leaves that can look like fronds due to how easily the leaves can be torn by wind.
I know from the years I lived in Florida, that in the right place, these trees can practically grow wild. They are a lot like bamboo too, in that they spread over time. They can grow to as much as 30 ft. tall, but are usually smaller than that.
And as long as they are in the right climate they will grow for years. But that is the trick. The right climate....and Austin is not the right climate in the winter time! Every time the temperature drops below freezing, the banana plants freeze! The whole plant turns brown and the leaves just hang there dejectedly and look pathetic.
The house close to us has had their bananas freeze about every other year! Well, of course, they do. Austin is not tropical, despite the 100F temps in the summer. In the winter we can get frost, and snow, and ice and that most definitely is NOT tropical.
The first few times those bananas froze, I thought the owners must have replaced them because by Spring the bananas were lush and green. But they have gone through this cycle several times now. Either those plants can recover from the effects of a freeze (who knows?), or those people are spending beau coup bucks replacing a plant that doesn't belong here in the first place!
It must be incredibly annoying to the plants, cuz believe me, "Baby It's Cold Outside!!"