A yard full of colorful tropical plants surrounding a concrete fountain

Here at Al’s, we love working around plants! Many of us even take our work home with us. So you can imagine that many of our Al’s Experts have amazing outdoor living spaces at home, all reflecting individual personalities and passions. This week we are featuring a tropic wonderland created by Peter Eastman, Assistant Store Manager at Al's of Wilsonville.

a rose-covered arbor leads into a courtyard around a fountain

Peter’s passion is in tropical varieties of plants and he has created a fantastic getaway from the hustle and bustle of city living. As you step through a rose covered arbor you feel as though you have been transported to a beautiful tropical paradise. The delicate sounds of the central fountain calm you as your eyes are filled with bright colors each plant complementing the next. Tall arching purple banana trees are surrounded by the bright reds of crocosmia and dahlias. While cheerful daylilies and knifophias fill in with their lovely yellows and orange colors. This garden is truly a sight to behold!

Now we all know that we are not living in a tropical climate here in the Northwest, so how does he keep this look up year after year without having to replant over and over? Well…Peter was willing to give away one of his biggest secrets that you can now use to help create your own tropical oasis.

Bare Root Your Bananas

a banana tree towers over yellow irises and red crocosmia

Believe it or not, you can store and over winter your bananas in the protection of a cool dry basement or garage, and then bring them out and replant them the following spring. Just be sure to follow these simple steps:

  1. Prune off all leaves and stems at the trunk.
  2. Dig around root ball and remove tree from ground.
  3. Shake off the dirt from the roots leaving the roots exposed. (A little dirt left on the roots is OK)
  4. Lay trunk on the ground, wrap the roots in a piece of plastic or tarp, and tie to base of trunk.
  5. Store in a cool, dry, non-freezing area like a basement or garage. Some light is OK, but not necessary.
  6. In spring, after the ground has warmed to above 50 degrees, pull them out and replant them. Your bananas will be light as a feather at this point, since the tree has used all the available water, which make planting very easy.
  7. Water and watch them pop back to life!

If you would like to see Peter’s garden in person you are in luck! It will be featured in the Portland Garden Conservancy Open Days Tour on the 14th of July. Click here for more information on how you can visit Peter's garden.