By now, we've been able to lift and process most of the Dahlias, Cannas and other tender material inside for the winter. We have also wrapped all the Musa basjoo (Banana) and the Dicksonia antarctica (Tree Fern) in the Exotic Garden. Using bamboo canes and twine to create a support structure, we densely pack straw and fern fronds around the trunks to protect them from the winter cold. This light and airy material allows the plants to breathe, without trapping too much moisture, which could rot the plants.
Tight packing will be more protective and stable
We leave the foliage intact to maximize food and energy production and storage. Eventually, the foliage will die back and only the main stalk will remain. The straw will be removed next season as new leaves begin to emerge, and the threat of cold is passing. Additionally, since the main trunks are not cut, we will have larger plants next season.