I have always loved bamboo. As a plant is it very under valued and never used to its full potential. It can be used in building, fence making, gardening, eating … the list is almost endless. Currently it it being trialled for use in the construction of computers as it is a fully bio-degradable material. I hope that we see more and more of it being used as an obvious choice to help save our planet.
I have, so far, purchased two bamboo plants only one of which has survived and thrived. I was naive when making both of these purchases. One was just tagged as ‘Dwarf Bamboo’ the other as ‘Black Bamboo.’ I have since learned that there are many, many different varieties – some are dwarf versions whilst others tower the heights and may even be classified as ‘tree height.’
The ones that I most love perhaps are those that are pictured with Giant Pandas – these vegetarian bears that appear to lie on their backs whilst munching bamboo shoots with their front paws are perhaps the reason why I noticed bamboo as a plant in the first place. Then I tried some bamboo shoots in a stir fry … so that was why the pandas enjoyed it so much!
Given the right conditions it grows swiftly and spreads quickly … so why aren’t we growing it to eat? Why aren’t we using more of it?
This is a picture of mine. It is a slow growing dwarf variety that has been in the same spot in my garden for eight years. Did I buy the right kind? Well the truth is I would have preferred the taller version that was fast spreading – but I had to make a compromise and this variety is more suited to ordinary gardens. If I had introduced the one that I really wanted then I would have had to dig up at least fifty percent of it every other year and I would have felt guilty unless I could have passed on the discarded clumps to fellow gardeners. That probably would have been most unlikely … hence the compromise.