June 23, 2020

Gigantic Banana Plants Stand Guard At City's Formal Gardens

Four banana plants stand guard at the Formal Gardens area at Sioux Park. Four banana plants stand guard at the Formal Gardens area at Sioux Park. City Photo/Darrell Shoemaker

GIGANTIC BANANA PLANTS STAND

GUARD AT CITY'S FORMAL GARDENS

Big Brutes Find Home

Each Summer in One of City Parks

RAPID CITY—Drivers and pedestrians passing near the Noordermeer Formal Flower Gardens at Sioux Park will notice some gargantuan-sized plants standing guard over the marigolds, cosmos and other flowers.  

            If you think they are the sort of plants you might find in Hawaiian or Caribbean climates, you’d be right. 

            And don’t let anyone ever tell you banana plants can’t grow in South Dakota!

            The four plants started as an experiment four years ago by City Greenhouse Specialist John Berglund.  Berglund has transplanted the banana plants in different City parks the last three summers including Wilson Park, Halley Park and this summer the brutes are finding a home at the Formal Gardens.  

            “I have been pleasantly surprised at how well they have survived and continued to flourish,” said Berglund. “I started them as an experiment just to see what would happen.”

            What happened was four plants that have flourished and put up with South Dakota’s ever-changing summer weather - from two extremely wet summers, bouts with pesky winds and hammering doses of hail.

            From Canyon Lake Drive, the banana plants look like something transported from a galaxy far, far away - towering over rows of fledgling annuals that are showering the area with arrays of color.   

            The annuals may provide the beauty and color but it the banana plants bring the braun and steal the show. 

            Berglund brings the banana plants in for the winter months and nurtures them within the warmth of the greenhouse then gives them a new park to reside in each summer, resulting in a growing legion of fans in the community.  

            The plants may not have survived this fourth summer had it not been for Berglund being short-staffed and attending to a backlog of greenhouse and planting duties. 

            A few weeks ago, hail pummeled the Formal Gardens area, damaging some of the recently-planted flowering plants.  

            “I wanted to get the banana plants out earlier but hadn’t gotten it done yet,” said Berglund. “It was a good thing because I don’t think they would have made it through that hail storm”

            Berglund says the banana plants have responded well to the challenges of South Dakota summers and appreciates the reaction and response of locals and visitors to the large plants.

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Thank you,

Darrell W. Shoemaker | Communications Coordinator

T: 605.721.6686 | M: 605.939.8551

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W: www.rcgov.org

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