Almost 12 years ago some friends had bamboo on their property and it always fascinated me. They sold their house and were moving. So we went there and dug up a couple big clumps of the bamboo and planted them behind the retaining wall behind my garage. It just sat there for about 2 years, not looking like it was doing much, but it was alive at least. Little did I know what was going on beneath the ground!
The third spring, there were gray spears in the yard around the bamboo one morning when I looked out. It was a foggy morning and it was eerie looking seeing these spears sticking up from the ground at all kinds of angles, like some medieval battle had been fought there. Bamboo was shooting up from the ground!
The shoots come up and are gray colored at first, and then a covering that is on them comes off, in sheets that look like some kind of paper. The shoots grow at an amazing rate, sometimes a foot a day. In later years I have left the bamboo forest expand to some other areas. But I have to break off shoots every spring to prevent it from encroaching into places I don’t want it to go. Most of it is now well over 20′ tall. New shoots come up inside the general area where it is and some older stalks die off and I cut them down.
When the wind blows hard, the whole group of the bamboo blows back and forth as if it was one big unit. When ice and snow get on it, it lays down flat to the ground; it is that flexible. When the weight of the ice or snow is gone, it stands back up just as it was before.
It grows very close together and provides a safe haven sanctuary for some animals. Squirrels and rabbits can hide inside the little forest when red-tailed hawks sometimes come here from the woods behind the house. I use some of the dead stalks for stakes to prop up some veggies in the summer.
It’s interesting to have and interesting for others to see; sometimes people drive up the alley beside the house and comment on it. It’s an ornamental bamboo, not the thicker kind you can use for big fishing rods. These stalks get about 1″ across at their biggest, and wouldn’t be strong enough for catching larger fish. But I find some other uses for it sometimes too, cos it is sturdy and weather resistant for a long time. And, it’s beautiful!