A Taste of the Tropics

The Real World Consultant has issued a challenge, or, as Bairite nits insist on calling it, an ‘opportunity’. He sent me a couple of dozen seeds of giant bamboo, of two different varieties: this is what you need to know about them to get the picture.

Phyllostachys pubescens: This bamboo commonly known as moso is one of the largest bamboos in the world. It is the most popular bamboo in china, used for food, timber, paper, plywood, flooring, and crafts. Its use in landscaping is growing in popularity. A mature cane will grow to a height of 60 feet or more in 90 days.
Dendrocalamus Strictus: Height in habitat = 70′. 8″ maximum culm diameter. Dense, hard culms are hollow if grown wet & humid, nearly solid if grown dry.

I have seen giant bamboos growing; the effect is a bit like a free range, organic church organ. I can hardly wait, though whether they will do it in Aberdeenshire is a question which remains to be answered. The procedure of getting them started, however, is tricky, since I am having to reproduce the torrid heat of a North China or Indian summer in the horrid cold of an Aberdeenshire winter.They have had 24 hours in water at 25 degrees, and they are now embarked on phase two, 4 to 6 weeks in silver sand at 20-25. My pans of seeds are roosting on the Rayburn, the only place in the house which is consistently warm (yes, RWC, I checked with a thermometer in case it was too hot) where I will have to remember to water them every day, I suspect. I will then have to fuss over weedy little grasslings for a year in the greenhouse, then after that, zoom. I hope. Unfortunately, pootling with the bamboo seeds got a bit mixed up with an appearance of the Apparitional Gamekeeper, who had fallen in the pond whilst engaged on hero stuff, & the distribution of his various soggy garments round the Rayburn, so I have completely lost track of which bamboo is which. I will try and report germination, but if it takes four to six weeks, we’ll probably have forgotten all about it. Seldom will a blade of grass have been more eagerly awaited.

2 Responses to “A Taste of the Tropics”

  1. David Puckey Says:

    Have you been successful in growing male bamboo? The reason that I as is that I take part in the mounted sport of tent pegging, using a lance from horseback to spear wooden tent pegs in the ground. We are looking for 8 foot lengths of male (solid) bamboo to make lance shafts. All the UK bamboo suppliers only do hollow bamboo and event he issue lances if we could get them from sotres are now hollow and unsuitbale for actual use.



  2. site admin Says:

    Cor! This all sounds very exciting. But I haven’t really got my giant bamboos established, they’re still awfully little. How about contacting info@thescottishbamboonursery.co.uk ; this outfit is near me at Alford and they’ve been on-site for a good long time — I’ve never SEEN so much bamboo in one place & they have lots and lots of mature planting. They might be able to help you with suitable lance material.

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