Back to bamboo

The last two of my bamboo-related projects last weekend were similar to the previous two: cleaning up some old beds and planting bamboo. I'm going to write about both of them today since they're very similar projects, so this will be a long post.


Here's the area (on the left in this photo), which is next to the area I cleaned up first. This is a smaller area to clear, and I don't have to dig any bamboo divisions so this should be pretty straightforward, although every project has its own special challenges.

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This bed is mostly weeds, but there are some Indian wood oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) that I want to save:


There is also this old chicken wire fence which I'll need to pull out:


And even though there are some oriental poppies back here...


...they've been declining each year because of lack of sunlight. I'm not going to try and save them -- I'll try again next year with fresh plants in a sunnier location.

So I dug out the grasses:


That was no simple task, because these things put out some roots, as you can see from this tiny seedling:


With those out of the way, I'll just scrape the area clean with my flat-bladed spade:


Then it's time to drag the plant into position to make sure I get it right:


It's going to spread over time so it's not critical that I site it precisely, but I'd rather get it as close to "perfect" as I can. This bamboo is one of my favorite smaller species, Shibatea kumasaca. It's a shorter species that has very different leaves:


They're short and rounded on very short branches, giving this bamboo a very unique look. I really like it!

Although I'm going to plant this in a mound as I did with the other plants, I feel like I need to dig a shallow hole here:


So now it's time to cut the pot (and I'll repair it this winter so I can reuse it of course):


Look at all of the rhizomes! That's only about 2 months of growth since I potted this up. You may look at this and marvel at how the rhizomes all reached the same depth and stopped going deeper:


I know that's what I first thought. I also thought "this plant will be a snap to control" because of this. Then I realized that the pot has a ledge there that forced them all to grow this way:


So into the ground, and after a few loads of 60/40 mix (60% compost, 40% topsoil), it's almost planted:



A few more wheelbarrow loads and I'm finished!





What a nice bamboo!



Now I'll continue with the planting that I did the next day: Hibanobambusa tranquillans 'Shiroshima'. I wanted to put it behind the Shibatea, but I wasn't sure exactly how to position it or how close, so I had to move the pot around and look at if from different angles.



One of the hardest parts of planting is visualizing what the plant will look like in a few years. This is easier with bamboo than it is with trees and large shrubs though.

The process here will be the same as before. Transplant any plants worth saving (like this Agastache):


Scrape the ground clean:


I didn't have to cut the pot because it was previously cut and repaired. I did need to cut the line though:


I almost took the pruners right down the line, snipping each loop. I decided that would create too many small pieces, so I just cut the ends and pulled the line out.


Much easier to clean up. I don't really want these flourescent green plastic bits on the ground back here -- they'll distract me whenever I'm in this area of the garden.

This pot had two repaired seams but I only cut one. The rhizomes were growing through the other seam:


I didn't think about this before, but it shouldn't be a big problem. Usually I'll be cutting out all of the seams (in the larger pots for sure) so the rhizomes won't be stuck like they are here. Speaking of rhizomes...


Doesn't this plant have really attractive rhizome tips/shoots? I understand that the real shoots will look something like this in the spring too, so I can't wait for that!

So onto the ground (no need to dig a shallow hole this time), mound up the soil, and that's it:



This plant doesn't look like much right now (I think I say that every time I plant something, don't I?), but in a year or two it will be a lot fuller and will really light up this part of the garden with its variegation:


I've heard that deer may like to eat this variety of bamboo, and Mike says that rabbits eat it in his yard, so I'll have to keep an eye on it. (I planted it back here in the deer zone.) I may have to fence it off in the Spring too, as I'll probably have to do with several of my plants now that the woodchuck is back in the area. Gotta protect those bamboo shoots!

That's the last of my bamboo-related projects for now. I'll need to do something to protect all of my potted bamboos for the winter, but I won't need to worry about that for another month or so. There's rhizome pruning to do too, but I probably won't post about that when I do it.

Of course now that I said that I'll probably find four new bamboo projects to do this weekend. The weather is supposed to be quite nice...

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