This post is a little bit naughty because it is an Edith Hope Tease!

Edith  –  do check out her very eloquent blog, Edith Hope’s Garden Journal – has been gently joshing us for showing a propensity for tan hummocks!

Well Edith, yet more hummocks, but they are green!

A few years ago, on one of our research trips, we visited The Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden in Surrey.   Aside from the amazing sculpture and the genius of the place – more on both those in due course – we were struck by their treatment of bamboo.


Here, to the left of the seat, the low, airy ground cover is bamboo. They clip the bamboo in places to make drifts of a height which suits them. Bamboo shoots for several years from the nodes on the main stem and provided you leave a few of these nodes you are sure of a leafy covering. 


 Of course the temptation is to rush home and try it yourself!


Above is Pseudosasa japonica at full height, while below, beyond the Viburnum tinus, it is chest height. 


And below again it is knee height!


When I notice new shoots sticking up through the hummock I clip them back. It is, as Nigella Lawson says provocatively whilst licking the spoon, the work of minutes!

I actually think that the foliage quality improves and definitely there is some sense that the beast is being controlled in its sideways spread as well as vertically. I do think however that I would not try this trick on any very expensive bamboos – usually those are slow to clump up and you are growing them a lot for their stems as well as their foliage – so where’s the point in not seeing them?

I use the same technique with Pleioblastus pygmaeus and think that any aggressive bamboo is worth a go in this way. I do however think that it is worth planting to sculpt in this way only in the wilder areas of your garden, where you can mow around or where there is concrete around!

Apologies Edith!