Add an exotic touch with Bamboo in the garden this weekend!
Long summer evenings sitting in the back garden are enhanced with the addition of movement and sound, whether it be your favourite podcast via a set of headphones, bird song or a water feature. A favourite of mines is the movement and sound caused by moving plants, plants like the Bamboo.
Not only do Bamboo look exotic, feel exotic they also create a lovely sway and swish in the garden when they move with the breeze. Bamboos are easy to go wrong with however, may bamboos have vigorous root systems which mean they can spread almost indefinitely in the garden, indeed this is where many of the original plant hunters went wrong. These guys found the most exquisite Bamboo growing in some far flung corner of Asia, sitting there looking great at 2’ wide and though “That’ll be a fine plants for himself back home”, they then brought it back, planted it out and without its natural competition and predators it exploded in growth growing 200’ wide!
Thankfully, due largely to mistakes made, we understand more about Bamboos today then every before, and we know the varieties best suited to container growing and to growing in the garden without them running out of control. Indeed the best place to see a superb range of Bamboos growing, in their (almost) natural environment is Dublin Zoo – the work put in by the head gardener Stephen Butler is seriously impressive with Bamboo used in many of the habitats within the zoo.
For a back garden I adore the Black Bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra) , the black stems with the green foliage work really well in creating a privacy screen around a seating area, they also do very well in pots and they won’t spread violently throughout the garden. Black Bamboo is commonly sourced in your local garden centre, it’s a thirsty fellow, loving water, so in the garden centre they may look ‘less than lush’ this is a problem with them growing in smallish pots which allows them to dry out quickly. Plant these into a tub the size of half a whiskey barrel and they will do fierce well, and then every 6/7 years (or when they become pot bound) just lift them out, cut them in half with a saw and repot half back in the tub and use the other half somewhere else in the garden. With this coloured stem in mind you also get a wonderful golden and a blue stemmed Bamboo also (Phyllostachys aurea aureocaulis & Phyllostachys nigra Henonis respectively).
Carrying on this theme of colourful stemmed Bamboo, types such as Clumping Umbrella Bamboo (Fargesia Asian Wonder) with its red/auburn coloured stems and green foliage is lovely in the garden, and others with striped stems and two-toned stems are wonderful additions to the garden.
Maintenance wise Bamboos love moisture and dislike wind, so best grown in sheltered back gardens, where the wind is very strong they suffer from windburn and the foliage never looks that great. Feeding wise – like every plant in the garden a little of chicken pellets in the spring will see them right.
So this weekend, add an exotic touch to your back garden and introduce a bamboo or two!
Check out the GardeningExpress website here for some great Bamboo plants