LIS­TEN­ING FORESTS

The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Front Page -

Bam­boo is one of the spir­i­tual plants that are as­so­ci­ated with med­i­ta­tion, monas­tic work and seren­ity. They are of­ten re­ferred to as lis­ten­ing forests in Ja­panese cul­ture where they are en­joyed for the sounds of wind and breezes that are cap­tured in the sway­ing culms.

They are also noted as a bit of a pest when it comes to leaf drop and pools in par­tic­u­lar.

The sim­ple so­lu­tion to this prob­lem is not to plant then near a pool.

If you have a culm of Ti­mor Black, or Bud­dha Belly (both clump­ing and not run­ning), they will have dropped most of their leaves in the last few months and are bare sticks that look ema­ci­ated and messy.

Never fear, th­ese are also one of the tough­est cus­tomers in a gar­den re­gard­less of their pur­pose.

Tam­ing a bam­boo is like a run­away teenager af­ter too much red drink.

Some are easy to man­age with a good hair­cut back to a hedge, or a mop top.

Bam­busa chungi has a bluish tinge to its culm (stem) and even­tu­ally has fat wide culms that can be lopped and main­tained at a con­stant level in a ‘cloud’ pruned shape (usu­ally at 3-4m high).

Re­moval of any side shoots be­low the mop top gives an or­derly but tran­quil per­for­mance. Es­pe­cially when it is set in a stone mulch.

If you like bam­boo hedg­ing, the va­ri­eties that have a shorter in­tern­ode (that is the space be­tween each side shoot on the culm) are eas­ier to man­age than the larger va­ri­eties.

Bam­busa mul­ti­plex con­sists of a few va­ri­eties, or Fairy Bam­boo both have fine leaf struc­tures and make an ex­cel­lent hedge that can be cut to any­where be­tween one and three me­tres. The shorter, the tighter the hedge.

Clump­ing bam­boos are best for any gar­den as they es­sen­tially widen out from the cen­tre and do not run.

Other run­ning bam­boos like Black Bam­boo (Phyl­lostachys ni­gra) is a ter­rific spec­i­men but needs to be con­trolled by con­crete paving around all sides oth­er­wise you have a lo­cal en­vi­ron­men­tal dis­as­ter on your hands.

This is why this va­ri­ety suits el­e­vated planters. Plas­tic root con­trol bar­ri­ers are not as ef­fec­tive as they may be with other trees.

What­ever bam­boo you like or choose will bring you joy. Like a co­conut tree, bam­boo with all its amaz­ing uses and pur­poses is one of two plants around the world that are con­sid­ered the tree of life.

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