Friday, July 6, 2007

Bamboo Dreams

Dreaming of planting some tall bamboo next to the west fence, and some ground cover bamboo next to the north walk, and some thick bamboo next to the fence by the greenway for privacy.

The New York Times has reported the scientific breakthrough - growing bamboo in test tubes. The world will now have an adequate supply of bamboo; pandas and gardeners rejoice!

So why would bamboo be in short supply? A plant that flowers only once every sixty years, and is difficult to propagate from seed or by dividing existing plants, bamboo is in demand for producing fabric "as soft as silk", paper, food, flooring, furniture and other wood products. According to Times, bamboo absorbs four times the carbon dioxide as normal trees, and releases thirty-five percent more oxygen. Perhaps the day will come when enlightened cities plant bamboo by the roadside and downtown spaces, providing more breathable air in crowded, commercial centers.

Boo-Shoot Gardens in Mt. Vernon, Washington, has taken the lead in bamboo production. They stock forty-two varieties of bamboo: twenty-four of them from tissue culture.

Shirts of Bamboo
offers a variety of "soft, breathable, natural clothing for men, women, red pandas and babies".

Pandas International is a resource for panda pictures, opportunities to adopt a panda, and amazing panda facts.

Yes, bamboo is good for many things - it is especially good for pandas.


Jaye Patrick said...

Bamboo is a noxious weed here. It's an absolute bugger to get rid off if not in a pot!

You can almost see it growing.

Pandababy said...

According to the article, here is the best way to get rid of bamboo:

"I still wonder what happens if the responsible gardener moves away or dies. But bamboo is shallow-rooted. If you want to get rid of a grove, Ms. Heinricher said, you use a spade with a sharp edge to cut through the rhizomes; then shove the spade beneath the roots, which generally go about a foot down, and peel the whole mat off the ground."

She has peeled up 20 by 20 foot stands of forty foot high bamboo that way, says the Times.

I'll have to be careful which variety I plant - have enough weeds here already.

Jaye Patrick said...

And I can testify that it's hard work, P. You've got to get all the runners or you'll be starting all over again within weeks - it grows that fast here.

MerylF said...

You can now buy varieties of clumping bamboo that don't send out runners like other grasses. Great for pots and won't take over the environment!

Pandababy said...

I appreciate the warning Jaye, now I won't be tempted to buy any variety just because it looks good.

Thanks Meryl, that is exactly what I had in mind, and I think it will go well in the meditation garden I'm planning for one of our garden rooms. I hope to visit the Japanese Garden and the newer Chinese Classical Garden in Portland this month for ideas.