The Buzz

My Favorite Plant

Picking a favorite plant is like picking a favorite child. It can change based on your mood and what is happening at the time. I have always loved Bamboo. It has a certain “mystic” that no other plant seems to possess. Growing up in the Chicago area the only Bamboo I had seen growing  was in conservatories. That changed rapidly while serving in the Army in Southeast Asia. I was amazed by not only the beauty of the plant but, the huge number of species as well as it’s utility. It is used to build everything from scaffolding, to homes, musical instruments, a source food and more. When I was Horticulturist at the Memphis Zoo, I grew 44 species there. I currently grow 10 species at home. The largest species I have is Phyllostachys vivax, one of the giant timber bamboos.  I have a grove of it on the West side of my house. What I like about this plant is the canes are widely spaced, probably 6 feet apart on average and the foliage begins about 8 feet off the ground. This makes it possible to walk through the grove with ease. The plants are much taller than my 2 story house which gives you the feel of being in an Asian forest. Because of the height of the canes, the house is shielded from the hot sun in the afternoon which is another plus. As the grove has matured it has “shaded out” smaller plants underneath so nothing else is  left except for some large pines. The ground is carpeted with pine needles and fallen bamboo foliage, allowing you to walk in silence. Even though it’s relatively confined space, it’s a great place to get away from the noises of the city that surrounds me.
Posted by Rick Pudwell at 8:00 AM


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