Recycled Banana Leaves

Our friends' banana tree still happily outside in late September.

Our friends’ banana tree still happily outside in late September.

Some of our friends have grown a gorgeous ornamental banana tree for the last several years in a large pot in their front garden.   Bananas aren’t hardy here in Zone 7, but they have perfected a strategy for cutting it back and bringing it into sheltered storage for the winter.

Yesterday afternoon I was flabbergasted to show up a little early with some plates of food for a neighborhood party and find my friend assembling an arrangement for the buffet table with her just-trimmed banana leaves!  What an ingenious way to use these beautiful leaves late in the season when they must be cut back.  She had one of the most stunning centerpieces I’ve seen anywhere, any time, and did it with material from her garden which otherwise might have gone to the compost heap.  They were absolutely perfect under the cathedral ceiling of our community center.  Now I’m curious to find out how long the leaves will last in the vase.  Last I heard, they were back home enjoying the bright sunshine of her living room.

The trimmed banana leaves, dressed for our gathering in November

The trimmed banana leaves, dressed for our gathering in November

“Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.”  I’m old enough to remember celebrating the first “Earth Day” back in 1970. It seemed like a good idea at the time.  Now, 40+  years later, we realize that better stewardship of our planet is critical for our own survival.

We’ve watched in horror as the strongest typhoon ever recorded at landfall flattened huge areas of the Philippines.  All of us living near a coastline realize we are also vulnerable.  Just as those further inland have also experienced flood, drought, fire, and wind as our weather patterns grow more strange each year.  We still have snow in our weather forecast tomorrow, with January-like temperatures for the next several days.

It is the daily decisions we make, large and small, which allow us to be “part of the solution.”  Finding ways to recycle and reuse resources we already have on hand is a beautiful way to begin, and these recycled banana leaves made the setting for our party last night something very, very special.  Instead of buying cut flowers flown in from who knows where, my friend and fellow gardener “shopped her garden” for stunning decorations.  And yes,  we all had a wonderful time together last evening.

My friends' sunflowers in September

My friends’ sunflowers in September

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2013

About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

2 responses to “Recycled Banana Leaves

  1. Such a beautiful way to recycle. 🙂

    • Sure beats collecting used cans and bottles 😉 I saw the arrangement again today, and it still looks beautiful. I wonder whether the leaves will root in water? Thank you for visiting the site today- Best wishes, WG

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