[Please note that I wrote this in 2004 as an article in the HPSO Bulletin. A recent FB posting has prompted me to revive/revise and repost it here.]
The emerging shoots are clothed in very colorful sheaths.
Phyllostachys spp. all have two branches at their nodes. I prune these off between 4′- 6′ up on the culm to better show them off, at the same time that I thin out the spindly and oldest, least colorful canes. This is done after the fragile new shoots have been hardened with silica and lignin.
These three are of Phyllostachys aureosulcata ‘Spectabilis’, a ‘reverse’ form of the Yellow Crook Stem Bamboo…reversed because in this form the sulcus, the groove, is green while the rest of the internode is yellow.
My first significant relationship with a bamboo,15 years ago, (this was the summer of ’89 when we moved into our current home) was a fatal one. Phyllostachys aurea, Golden Bamboo. I had heard all of the usual stories, yards lost, asphalt heaved and cracked, good neighbors gone bad. Our new house confronted me with several problems, that I knew would get worse if I put them off. It was another example of a homeowner picking the wrong plant for a screen, or failing to take the precautions to contain it. With my limited knowledge and biases I had no doubt about what I needed to do. I got my shovel and chased every rhizome down. I was thorough and a good hunter, none survived. Continue reading →
I use a lot of Monocots in my garden, among them in this picture are the Colocasia esculenta ‘Black Magic’ with its huge dark velvety heart shaped leaves, Arundo donax ‘Variegata’, the Giant Reed, whose clasping leaves show us that this is a grass not a bamboo and the white speckled, green, heart shaped leaves of my Zantedeschia x elliotiana ‘Flame’ just behind the reaching stem of Arundo.
Many gardeners are self taught and haven’t formally learned Botany, the science that helps us understand plants in a more formal, academic way, though they may be excellent ‘gardeners’ in terms of their growing of plants. Botany provides a pathway toward the understanding that many of us crave, that for others is an unwanted burden..they are happy with the doing. For them the task of learning botanical latin, binomial nomenclature and the classification system by which we organize and study the various species, understand their structure, development and common history…is of less interest. No doubt a good many fall somewhere in the middle. I have always been among the more curious ones with regards to this. Continue reading →