I am sure that there would be some shrink or therapist out there suggesting , no, ‘sharing with me’, that I am trying to recapture an idyllic childhood here. But I  have just planted a bamboo grove.


One of the things I remember very clearly about my childhood was a large bamboo garden with loads of Fargesias you could wander amongst. Clumps so big you thought there might be a room in there. And this garden was most often full of whispering  movement from the wind in the leaves and also the sounds of a host of chattering sparrows, especially in the evening.

I didn’t consciously think of that childhood memory, but I have planted my own little grove of chilean bamboos. However, I was making a virtue of necessity since last year it became clear that my large clump of Chusquea culeou was in the way of some building work. And having existed for a while with some scaffolding boards directly above it, come the winter, it had to be dug oug out or die. This species is not one you particularly choose to move large clumps of, since it is can be difficult. I had successfully divided off odd pieces before, but never anything this  drastic.

However, there was no choice. And so the two guys who mow the grass spent a day hacking the thing apart-no, I am sure it was a bit more surgical than that! Each cane was cut half way down to reduce transpiration. With any work of this kind the loss of material in the removal is substantial, but I ended up with eight large propagules, which I think stand a good chance of success. These spent the depths of the winter healed in on the top of the leafmould pile sheltered from wind and frost by a neighbouring yew.

In one of those awful logistical nightmares that gardening consists of I now need the leafmould and  so they have gone to their new home on the fringe of a little wood in an area that is semi wild and semi cultivated-a kind of buffer zone if you like. Out in the big wide world, it is more exposed, but still sheltered from strong wind, which is what these bamboos like. A huge oak with a very high canopy mimics their former shady home.

I have planted them in a kind of drifty circle with a hollow centre, in humus enriched soil and capped with lots more leaf mould which is what they like-you see I am trying quite hard.

Culeou (the very name alone is musical)  is an elegant, tufty rarity. Hmmmm – they look a little rough at the moment, since they did get chopped in half. So no photos as yet. But I was pleased to see some good fat shoots on the way on the base of some of them, so there’s hope. They have two choices anyway.

Inside the drift I have put a big log to sit on and the plan is that on hot days when the gardening is done the first g and t of the evening will be consumed in there. Who knows the sparrows may join me.

And in case there are any shrinks out there I don’t want a consultation – I am screwed up enough!