I have spent the day cutting hardy bamboo. Not mine. None of my bamboo will be ready to harvest for a few years yet. This bamboo belongs to Vic, the guy who first let me take some sections of his bamboo, and started this fascination (obsession) with bamboo. Another friend, Roy, who you will see in a couple of the pictures, has been helping Vic to thin out some of his bamboo, and today I lent a hand.
For anybody who doesn’t know, bamboo starts out juvenile (thin and spindly), and when established, starts to send up progressively taller, and thicker culms, until it reaches full size. The culms (stems) grow to their maximum height over the course of a few weeks, and will not get thicker with age. When mature, stems of full girth, grow rapidly to full height, amazing everybody who sees it for the first time. The picture below shows a 20 ft (6 meter) tall stem of a Phyllostachys bissetti, cut earlier today.
This stem was about 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. The bissettii was rampaging along the front of a fence, threatening to crowd out four large clumps of other bamboo, so that was one of our tasks. The picture below shows a mixed bamboo hedge, of seven species, that was planted about eight or nine years ago. The plants would have only been juvenile, no more than 3 foot tall, when planted.
The hedge goes all the way down to the right edge of the picture, and I included the summerhouse, and Roy, in the picture to give a sense of scale and perspective.
At the other end, a large clump of Pseudosasa japonica was hanging over the pond, and needed cutting back. These were much thinner culms, but growing tightly together.
I wasn’t trying to take artistic pictures of bamboo, but the colouration of some of the sculms was exquisite. The picture below doesn’t really do them justice, but take a peek.
The large golden culms towards the rear are Phyllostachys vivax f. aureocaulis. Although you may not be able to see it, it has green stripes along each segment. The thicker green stem front right is the same species, but the plant has thrown up a green stem with yellow sulci (grooves). This is called Phyllostachys vivax f. huanvenzhu, although this is growing on the same plant. The thinner golden canes belong to Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. spectabilis. It is thinner than the vivax, but with the same colouration, and the occasional crooked culm low down. There is a small clump of Phyllostachys nigra on the right. The green canes to the left of the picture are giving us an identification problem. Some of them look like they could be P. bissettii running through, but some of them appear too thick, and may be green P. vivax culms. I’m sure that an expert would identify them without a problem, but we’re going to have to see what time of year the shoots appear, and compare them with the others. It won’t be too long now.
The picture just shows the bamboo from another direction, and I hope that you can see the different culm colours. There is a selection of other posts available from the menu below, but you can also find other articles by looking in the Hardy Bamboo Category of the blog, or amongst the posts that have the same TAG