Gray Catbird doesn't get a lot of notice, but this
one in bamboo looks very handsome
national association says it is only a grass, but not
many plants are looked at with heart pounding fear and
trepidation, as bamboo. But it is that grass element
that caught us all by surprise last spring.
see bamboo does bloom. It is not predictable and it is
not necessarily something celebrated by horticulturists
as maintenance will soon be required. Some countries
even look at the bloom of bamboo as catastrophic.
getting into a lengthy dissertation on the bloom of
bamboo I will tell you that only a portion of the three
clumps on the farm bloomed making it easy for us to
remove as part of the required after-bloom maintenance.
When the bloom started we were stunned as to what
occurred next. It was an ornithological extravaganza.
18-foot tall bamboo bloomed for weeks. Some of the large
grass seeds remained on the bamboo canes others were
sloughed off to the ground. The result of all of this
however was a bird feeding frenzy.
buntings, painted buntings, blue grosbeaks,
rose-breasted grosbeaks, eastern towhees, gray catbirds
and cardinals all kept us thrilled. In other places they
go to great lengths to keep birds from getting the
is an occurrence where naturalists and horticulturists
stand together in time, awed and amazed.
be honest I would love to have more bamboo blooming next
season although I would hate to see an entire clump of
our historic bamboo be lost to such an event. For
instance our clump of Chinese Goddess bamboo has been
right there in place since 1928.
now like some naturalist nerds we are rejoicing thanks
to some hedge bamboo. Since January 8 we have been
playing host to a Wilsonís warbler that is most rare
in our area. There are also blue-headed vireos, black
and white warblers, ruby-crowned kinglets, wrenís and
others darting in and out of the bamboo snagging low
and birds is a pairing most of us have never considered.
Maybe it is like the icing on the cake or a plant with
added benefits. For the Japanese Garden, or Tropical
Garden however no plant can lend the look and texture of
a screen it is one of the best. If you need a
groundcover that is two to four feet in height you canít
beat bamboo. One look at bamboo and you get a sense of
being in the presence of a plant of rare beauty, both
exotic and also foreign.
Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens got its start in 1919
as a USDA Plant Introduction Station because of bamboo.
We still maintain a sizeable collection including Mrs.
Millerís giant timber bamboo she planted on the farm
is native to Asia, Africa and even the Americas. There
are species of bamboo that can be grown from zones 5 to
the tropics. Just like the American Bamboo Association
says it is just a grass. In fact they can be small dwarf
grasses reaching only a foot in height or very large
ones reaching 120 feet tall. Some are capable of putting
on an incredible display of growth of over three feet
think you can invite friends and guests over to have
barbeque and watch the bamboo grow, or if you are really
lucky, do some spectacular bird watching.