Bamboo for Gardens

Overview

Bamboos evoke an exotic atmosphere wherever they are used — unfortunately, they are too often kept out of our gardens for fear of their invasive qualities or lack of hardiness. In truth, these elegant grasses, encompassing both woody and herbaceous forms, can achieve dramatic yet restrained effects in a range of climates. Their uses include both the ornamental, offering striking foliage and culms, and the practical, such as for screening or erosion control, not to mention the culinary treat of bamboo shoots and ...

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Overview

Bamboos evoke an exotic atmosphere wherever they are used — unfortunately, they are too often kept out of our gardens for fear of their invasive qualities or lack of hardiness. In truth, these elegant grasses, encompassing both woody and herbaceous forms, can achieve dramatic yet restrained effects in a range of climates. Their uses include both the ornamental, offering striking foliage and culms, and the practical, such as for screening or erosion control, not to mention the culinary treat of bamboo shoots and the structural qualities of the culm wood. Tropical and subtropical bamboos present many possibilities for landscapes in warmer climates, while the hardier species can be grown as far north as Minnesota in the United States and in the cooler climes of England and continental Europe. Bamboo culture has a long and distinguished legacy in East Asia, but much remains to be explored by Western gardeners and landscapers.

Bamboo expert Ted Jordan Meredith provides a thorough and multifaceted treatment of these ancient grasses, covering origins and history, structure and form, cultivation and propagation, landscaping, and taxonomy and identification. He offers insight into selecting the right plant for the right situation, and presents useful advice on the best methods for containing or eradicating potentially invasive forms. The bulk of the book is an encyclopedia of bamboo genera, species, and cultivars. More than 300 bamboos from 40 different genera are described in detail, including information on size, lighting and temperature requirements, native range, physical characteristics, and landscape and other uses. Meredith's excellent color photos and clear line drawings effectively illustrate both the details and broader effects of these exquisite plants.

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Editorial Reviews

Oregonian
"From ground covers to timber types, Ted Jordan Meredith, author of Bamboo for Gardens, knows his subject."—Oregonian, July 31, 2002
Newark Star-Ledger
"Really want to know about bamboo? This is the book to get."—John Van de Water, Newark Star-Ledger, April 7, 2002
— John Van de Water
Newark Star-Ledger - John Van de Water
"Really want to know about bamboo? This is the book to get."—John Van de Water, Newark Star-Ledger, April 7, 2002
From the Publisher
"Really want to know about bamboo? This is the book to get."—John Van de Water, Newark Star-Ledger, April 7, 2002
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780881925074
  • Publisher: Timber Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/20/2001
  • Pages: 408
  • Product dimensions: 7.70 (w) x 10.64 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

Ted Jordan Meredith has written books on viticulture, enology, wine appreciation, garlic, and bamboo. His Bamboo for Gardens (Timber Press 2001) was awarded the Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries Literature Award and The New York Times Editor's Choice for Best Books for Gardening, and his The Complete Book of Garlic: A Guide for Gardeners, Growers, and Serious Cooks (Timber Press 2008) has become the standard reference for garlic enthusiasts.

When a housing development suddenly took away his privacy, Ted became interested in bamboo as a beautiful, rapidly growing, evergreen screen. He quickly became captivated by bamboo in all of its aspects and began to grow, research, and write about bamboo.

A native of Montana, Ted recalls the daring use of fresh garlic in the family kitchen. In later years, as his interest in cooking grew, Ted enthusiastically incorporated garlic into much of his cuisine but initially regarded garlic as a supermarket commodity with little distinction. It was at a farmer's market that he purchased a few heads of a Rocambole garlic, 'Spanish Roja'. Ted realized then that all garlic was not the same, and he never looked back, voraciously exploring a new-found world of hundreds of cultivars in nearly a dozen different horticultural groups.

Ted and his wife garden and grow bamboo at their home in Washington state. In addition to writing and photography, Ted enjoys cooking, gardening, hiking, and music.

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Read an Excerpt

Bamboos are members of Bambusoideae, a subfamily of Poaceae. The great diversity of Bambusoideae bespeaks a long period of highly adaptive development. Bamboo forms include delicate, fernlike, tropical, herbaceous plants, perennial groundcovers, shrubs, vining climbers, and arborescent timber bamboos. For our modern world, these enduring grasses offer us great beauty and utility.

At least 90 genera and 1200 species are distributed throughout the world's temperate, tropical, and subtropical regions. A highly diverse member of the grass family, bamboos grow from sea level to high mountainous regions. Some groundcover bamboos reach a height of only a few inches and can be mowed like a lawn. At the other end of the scale are timber bamboos that live up to their name, growing like timber and forming towering forests. These giant grasses are harvestable for construction, paper pulp, and food. The uses for bamboo literally number in the thousands.

Bamboo is a principal defining element for many traditional cultures. Bamboo is shelter. It is food, and the means to acquire food. From womb to tomb, bamboo is the source of both physical and spriritual sustenance-the fiber of life.

Bamboo also offers many benefits for modern societies. Among them, bamboo is a prodigious and radpidly renewable source of fiber. Even as the world's forests and habitats rapidly decline, bamboo offers some solutions. As yet, however, this offer is largely unheard, and bamboo itself is at risk in many parts of the world, from unmanaged use by dense populations and from indiscriminate land clearing. The destruction of land and habitats in South America is most heinous. Some species have already disappeared from the face of the earth forever.

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