Another Island Note…
It all started with a cut-off top of a pineapple plant. Hettie discovered if you take that and put itin soil, it will produce another pineapple. That was 14 months ago. And whilethe plant has grown considerably in size, there is still no fruit to be seen. In fact, the plant grew so large that I hadto transplant the beast from a terrace pot to a garden plot. That got me thinking that I need to start my very own piña colada garden.
For those who don’t imbibe, a piña colada is a tropical concoction of pineapple, coconut and rum. My garden already had the pineapple plant in it. I could easily plant a coco palm there. Why hell, maybe even grow a small stand of sugar cane and make my own rum. Really? Nah. Actually, when I considered the time it would take to harvest all the necessary ingredients from the plot and distill the rum,I passed on the whole idea. But the pineapple plant looked mighty lonely there all alone. That’s when I put in four banana plants, each about 2-feet high.
Now growing bananas also takes a long time. Hundreds of afternoons can be spent swinging in the hammock before you will see the first fruit. But hell, two things I have a lot of is time and hammocks (current number is up to five). So, in went the plants.
Just last week the first banana bloom popped out. It is a long, phallic-like purple protrusion that interrupts the landscape like a rude punctuation mark. Days later the first bananas appeared right behind the bloom, small fruits that I hope will rival a Chiquita in the near future. They radiate in a ring around the stalk with small white flowers at the end of each fruit. That was followed by another ring or ‘hand’ as they say in the banana business, and then another. And soon, hopefully, the other plants will begin producing as well. So, what to do with the harvest?
Well I’m back to my original idea but with a twist. I’m planning to make a piña banana colada with a generous amount of Flor de Caña 4-year old rum. This libation should render that frozen concoction that helps me hang on in one of my five hammocks.
But wait. Another surprise was discovered next to the banana bloom. Propped on the end of a stalk was a small nest and sitting on top a proud blue-tailed emerald hummingbird keeping minuscule eggs warm.
This can only be a good omen. Hummingbirds have a long history of symbolism in native cultures. The Aztecs saw them as messengers to the gods. The Maya believed that the very first wedding ever performed on Earth was between two hummingbirds. And here in the Caribbean, the Tiano Indians viewed hummers as a symbol of rebirth and good luck. With that kind of serendipitous mojo in my garden, no doubt we’ll have a record harvest of bananas this year.