Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The Bamboo Grove

It's been a while since I posted anything about our bamboo grove. Originally I had a grand plan that it would be a major feature of the garden with shade-loving tropical plants growing between the clumps of bamboo and a water feature or two for interest along the pathways. So far, this hasn't eventuated.

The bamboo grows along the fenceline at the far side of the garden behind the chook pen. It is watered by our HSTP outlet (home sewerage treatment plant) which turns our waste water into clean water. This means they have a steady supply of water and nutrients without us having to lift a finger except to move the sprinkler occasionally. It's ideal conditions and they have responded by growing taller than our house.

Bambusa textilis.Gracilis (Slender Weavers Bamboo)

Every summer they send up their new shoots and each year they're taller and thicker than the previous year. So far, I'm not worried. We have an acre of land and the bamboo doesn't impact on the rest of the garden, but occasionally I do wonder just how big some of them will eventually grow.

Banbusa vugaris cv. ‘Vittata’ (Painted bamboo)

We chose species that are clumping, not running, and most form tight clumps. Throwing a handful of fertiliser into the centre of the clump at the start of their peak growing season helps them to stay in a tight clump as well - plus knocking off the odd culm that comes up where you don't want the clump to spread can help too. The painted bamboo has the most open clump. Because it's in the back corner, we've let it fill that space.

Bambusa vulgaris cv. ‘Wamin’ (Giant Buddha's Belly)
While still a clumping bamboo, this one has a very open clumping habit.

I love its shape and deep green colour.

Dendrocalamus asper cv.’Hitam’ (Black Asper or Betung Hitam)

This is a relatively new acquisition. We bought it 3 years ago. It is very large bamboo - actually a giant. For the first couple of years the new growth was quite small and thin but I think its established now and last summer we saw the first distinctive black and white cane. (I can't wait to see what it does next summer after all the rain we've had.)

Schizostachyum brachycladum ‘Yellow’ (Sacred Bali Bamboo)

7 years old
This bamboo was a big disappointment. It was beautiful. (below is how it looked for the first couple of years), then it started to flower and seed and doesn’t look great any more. Apparently this is typical of this bamboo. We’ll probably dig it out but if I can find viable roots, I'm going to try growing it in a pot and see what happens.

3 years old


Bambusa lako (Timor Black)

Dendrocalamus Minor cv ‘Amoenus’. (Ghost bamboo)

Giganochloa lutriostrata (Lipstick Bamboo)

This one is very tight clumping with lots of foliage giving it a mushroom appearance. The new shoots are pinkish – hence its name. The canes have remained quite thin despite being about 7 year old, so I'm guessing it is only a small growing variety.

We have another small growing bamboo in a different part of the garden. Bambusa Heterostachya variegated (Malay Dwarf Bamboo). It only grows to about 3 metre tall so is considered a dwarf. I'll show you it another day.
Even though the bamboo grove hasn't turned into the showcase I'd imagined, we've discovered other advantages that I hadn't realised bamboo could provide. The long straight canes need thinning from time to time and are ideal for garden stakes, trellises, etc. John's even made a tall tripod to hold a bird feeder.
They provide an enormous (and I mean enormous) amount of mulch which all gets used around the garden.

"Harvesting canes"
....and  last but not least - the chooks love to forage the the bamboo grove.

It's Chookie Heaven.


  1. Oh Missy you have a lot of bamboos. Your area will eventually be like a forest, and besides the chooks loving them, a lot of creatures will eventually be lured to stay there. I love most the black (really wish to have one), the yellow and the buddha bamboo. Is your spelling right (Giant Bududas Belly)? I know it is Buddha bamboo, not Bududa because it bulge like Buddha's belly.

    1. Thanks Andrea - It was a typo. You are right. Don't know what I was thinking as I typed. I've fixed it.

  2. So glad to hear you have clumping bamboo. When I saw your bamboo pic in my feed I had terrible flashbacks to the nightmare we had trying to get rid of our super invasive spreading bamboo jungle. Bamboo stakes are very handy. I use mine all the tine.

  3. I love bamboo. And, they do grow tall!! We have a bamboo grove outside our garden at about 40 feet tall and THICK! It comes in handy when we need some bamboo for farm projects.

  4. Your bamboo grove is gorgeous! I especially love the black variety. I can imagine your girls thoroughly enjoy foraging in the grove! Our chickens are so happy when we let them play in the forest for a bit. Look forward to visiting again!

  5. Missy, you have quite a nice bamboo's good that you have them all under control.
    I only have the miniature bamboo (have no idea of the correct name), but it sheds a ton of leaves, so I have a never ending stash of mulch and compost...they can be VERY VERY messy.
    I have moved on to palm collecting..wish me luck.

  6. Every now and then I wonder if there is not a small area that I could plant some bamboo - it just looks so wonderful and would be so useful. There is a small, variegated one I have my eye on. I love that black bamboo - so striking. so clever that you have your own HSTP plant, and I know you have that huge mulcher so it looks as though you are all set.

  7. Wow, I love your collection of tropical bamboos! And with all that watering it recieves no wonder they are all doing so well! :)

  8. I think this is where I came in. My first visit to your blog, and my first comment to you, was about bamboo! It has grown a lot since then. Love the black ones and the buddha's belly best!

  9. I adore bamboo too, so elegant and graceful - the Japanese bamboo forests were one of the most tranquil places I've ever been.

    I passed what could have been one of Missy's sisters today and I exclaimed Missy! to the consternation of the fellow accompanying the little dog. I hurried away.


I would love to know what you think and appreciate your comments.


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