Bamboo shoots pretty

If you grow temperate bamboo, Spring is definitely bamboo time. Shoots emerging almost every day, the new leaves unfurling to freshen the look of the existing foliage -- it's an exciting time! I can't tell you how many times a day I go outside to check on the progress of the shoots, or just take a close look at some of the more interesting leaves. If you grow bamboo you'll understand, but if you don't...

Well, I hope to show you this spring just what I find so interesting, beautiful, and compelling about bamboo, and why I can't ever imagine having a garden without it. (Image above is Phyllostachys aureosulcata 'Spectabilis')


Today I'll be looking at bamboo shoots primarily, which can be quite beautiful. The variations between the shoots of different species and varieties are sometimes subtle but often quite dramatic. In fact, the shoots are often used to help identify a species.

I don't have enough experience yet to reliably recognize species by their shoots, but I sure love looking at them.

Phyllostachys arcana

Phyllostachys glauca 'Yunzhu'

Pleioblastus viridistriatus, whose leaves just glow

Phyllostachys aureosulcata 'Aureocaulis', juvenile shoot

Phyllostachys bissetii

Sasaella masamuneana 'Albostriata'

Phyllostachys aureosulcata

Phyllostachys aureosulcata, just broke through the
soil surface and hasn't gotten its coloration yet.

Phyllostachys glauca 'Yunzhu'

Phyllostachys aureosulcata 'Spectabilis', juvenile shoot

These shoots all get their coloration from the "culm sheaths" that protect the new culms as they grow, but then fall off on most species. It seems a shame that these beautiful coverings are discarded, often revealing a plain green culm underneath. Even more reason to enjoy them now -- they won't be around for very long!

Maybe that's the reason I look at them so many times a day...


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Kritter Keeper at Farm Tails  – (April 15, 2011 at 7:49 AM)  

bamboo is the thing these earth friendly but no, i don't grow it...we garden and can our veggies in the summer. am giving away a gift certificate this weekend from white flower farm in connecticut in case you are interested. happy spring!

Mud  – (April 15, 2011 at 8:12 AM)  

Beautiful. I may contemplate a using a stand of bamboo as a hedge someday. I worked for my aunt anyway and I always thought it had a wild,pretty feel.

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (April 15, 2011 at 9:37 AM)  

Beautiful photos, Alan! I know how difficult it is to photograph bamboo shots, and you did an outstanding job.

:: Bamboo and More ::

Diana Studer  – (April 15, 2011 at 3:11 PM)  

(link in to Pam tomorrow, that date is not so rigid ;~)

Alan  – (April 16, 2011 at 7:11 AM)  

For more posts about the non-flower aspects of gardens, Pam over at "Digging" does a monthly "Foliage Follow-Up" post with links to other blog posts about anything except blooms:

Foliage Follow-Up at Digging

Check it out!

Pam/Digging  – (April 16, 2011 at 8:08 AM)  

Alan, I've come around to bamboo appreciation in the last couple of years, and now I'm growing two varieties: Mexican weeping and 'Alphonse Karr.' Bamboo really is beautiful. I enjoyed your pics. And thanks for the link to Foliage Follow-Up.

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