The Bamboo is a fascinating plant; civilizations in the Far East have used it for construction, musical instruments, hosepipes, decoration, controlling soil erosion and food (to name but a few) for thousands of years.
The importance of bamboo at the earliest, most formative periods of human culture, is suggested by the fact that it was deified in some primitive tribes. The aesthetic qualities are numerous too; it can add an exotic feel to a garden and to quote Mike Bell, President Emeritus of the Bamboo Society "Bamboos belong to a world of superlatives and conundrums. They are the fastest-growing terrestrial plant, they are grasses the size of trees, they have the strength of steel and seem to live forever."
Did you know that there are 1500 different species of bamboo in the world and they originate from virtually every continent, except Europe and Antarctica? Around 200 of the species are hardy in the UK. The collection at Trebah now boasts some 70 different types, thanks to the recent introductions from Carwinion Garden, Mawnan Smith.
We are thrilled to have a new stand of Drepanostachyum falconeri, more easily known as the 'Candystripe Bamboo'. It is one of the most spectacular of the coloured bamboos with green, white and pink striations and the good news is that it is a pachymorph (clump forming) and will take many years to develop into a 3 metre clump.
Before the arrival of the Carwinion bamboos there were no Fargesias in our collection. We now have 9 different species including Fargesia papyrifera, a non-invasive clumping bamboo from Yunnan province in China with stunning ice blue culms. It is both quick growing and ideally suited to our climate. Fargesia macclureana, the mountain bamboo from Tibet is the most cold tolerant of all Fargesia and has tall culms with colouration varying from purple to grey.
Another 'special' to look out for is Chusquea gigantea from South America. This bamboo is only suited to a large garden such as Trebah and it is one of the most impressive bamboos, growing to over 7 metres tall with solid upright culms of olive green.
These recently transplanted bamboos are unlikely to produce new shoots for 2-3 years whilst they establish themselves and develop a strong root system. The intermittent rainfall we've had this spring will have helped enormously and now we just have to sit back and wait for the results.