Sunday, December 21, 2008


The long term strategy in developing our garden is for it to become easy to manage. A key component of this is the bamboo. We grow lots of varieties and I've selected four for this post. The first is my favourite, because it is so impressive (about 12 feet tall) and non-invasive. I think its a Chusquea, but I'm not sure. If anyone knows, let me know in comments. This plant is easy to divide, by splitting off pieces - but needs a strong spade with a sharp edge. In front is a Pleioblastus, a short bamboo which is much more yellow that appears in this photograph, and shows best colour by cutting off at ground level in the spring.

This bamboo is one of the most commonly grown of all bamboos today - and often planted in totally unsuitable locations, because of its size. Not only does it grow to around 15 feet, but its habit is to lean outwards. Its a Phyllostachys 'nigra', popularly known as the 'Black Bamboo'. This genus is also easy to divide with a strong spade - so we have lots of it in the garden. I trim off most of the side shoots preventing it casting too much of a shadow and showing off its black stems. It takes its place well, growing between the 8 foot high stones in the 'Celtic circle'.

Another commonly grown Phyllostachys, which also needs a lot of room. Again I trim off the side shoots (when I get around to it) because it shows off the colour of the stems. This is the bamboo which supplies our own runner bean canes. We use some bamboos alongside paths. The mulcher stops them spreading onto the path , and there is no need for any weeding whatsoever. In some parts of the garden, where bamboos are planted both sides, there is a real 'jungly' atmosphere. Be no surprise to see monkeys appearing if climate change raises our temperature much more.


Anonymous said...

I've always fancied trying to grow a hedge using Ginkgo trees, they can easily bonsai-ed, so I'm sure that they can be grown as a shrub and also as a hedge. Lovely yellow foliage in Autumn!

On other possiblity for an unusual hedge would be using Antarctic Beech, Nothofagus antarctica, bit more unusual than the plane beech hedges or even those using copper beech.

The Everygreen Holm Oak, Quercus ilex is something else worth considering.

Alternatively, see what smalled leaved tree seeds are available in the Chiltern Seeds catalogue.

Glyn Davies said...

anon - all intereesting ideas - even if the ginkgo hedge would be a bit slow and expensive.

P(lant) Man said...

Glyn's garden should be held up as a fine example of carbon dioxide sequestration in the form of, for example, cellulose/hemicellulose, pectin, and lignin.

If plants love Glyn, so should you!


Glyn Davies said...

P-man - Plants love everyone, if the right ones are chosen for the particular site. Its no good planting hostas in a dry spot, or trying to grow broom in a bog or azaleas on chalk.