Something New

Not only have I not been blogging about the garden for the past year (or a little more), I've also not been doing much gardening.

I've been doing something different.


Sure I've been doing the gardening basics: tending the bamboo, pruning, weeding, planting tropicals, tending bamboo, watering, tending bamboo, tending bamboo, and tending bamboo, but there's really not been much to say about any of that which I haven't said here before.

Plus posts take time, and I just don't have too much of that these days.

As you can see from the imagery here, my creative outlet has changed from photography and blogging to... Illustration? Drawing? Painting? It's sort of all of those things, so let's just call it "digital visual art". Toward this I've been working on one main project for over a year trying to find my style, get more practice, and learn the tools, but it's only about 30 percent completed and it will be a while before I can "put it out there".

I recently realized that I could combine this newest facet of my creativity with an older one (the garden) and start updating this blog again. It's a fun, casual way to share some work that probably isn't ready for full release on judgemental social media, which I'm not a big user of anyway. Plus here on INWIG the imagery is not the whole focus, which takes a little pressure off too. It's a gardening blog, not an art blog, right?


If you've been reading for a while, you hopefully recognize this as the patio section of my garden, as seen from the window. Winter is the time when the bamboo really comes into its own, towering islands of green in a world of browns and greys and whites.

As much pleasure as the bamboo gives me during the colder months, it also is a source of stress: when extreme cold is forecast, the "worry front" arrives a few days before. The questions start: will it get cold enough to defoliate the bamboos?  Will the still-dormant leaf buds also be killed, resulting in what we bamboo growers call "topkill"?

Topkill occurs when the existing leaves are killed and the dormant leaf buds are too. The culms have no way to generate foliage, so they die (no leaves means no food!). The bamboo then becomes essentially a huge, herbaceous perennial: dead above ground, but still alive below. 

This means three things: 1) somebody is going to be very busy cutting down dead bamboo culms, 2) there will be hundreds and hundreds of canes* to be disposed of, and 3) the bamboo will be set back -- the new culms it will produce in the spring won't be as large or numerous as expected. Gardeners want plants that excel and impress, and with bamboo that means big, fat culms.

So ideally, you want your bamboo to keep as many green leaves as possible through the winter. Come spring more greenery left on the plant means a stronger shooting season (in general). 

When temperatures are forecast in the single digits (Farenheit) I start worrying. Negative single digits is even worse. Single digits for several days in a row with dips negative is about as bad as it gets.  The recent cold spell from the polar vortex event gave us all of that and more: 10+ days where it never got above freezing (or even close).

I'm sure there will be plenty of bamboo damage showing in the next month or so.

I guess that means I better start practicing more with the browns.

(*Technically it is called a "culm" when it's attached to the plant, and a "cane" once it's removed)


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Salty Pumpkin Studio  – (February 24, 2021 at 5:27 PM)  

The artwork here is lovely. Learning new skills is quite an endeavor. I look forward to seeing your work.

Mark and Gaz  – (February 24, 2021 at 5:31 PM)  

Welcome back! Nice to hear what you’ve been up to, always good to learn new skills and now you get to showcase both old and new :)

danger garden  – (February 27, 2021 at 12:10 PM)  

Wow, a blast from the past in my blog feed this morning! Love the work you've shared, especially the first and fourth.

Rock rose  – (March 9, 2021 at 5:46 PM)  

Nice to see you back. The green bamboo photo is delightful. But I wonder how it fared with that ghastly weather we had recently. I know it destroyed our gardens but don't know about the midwest. Hope not.

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