Practical Bamboo: The 50 Best Plants for Screens, Containers & More

By: Paul Whittaker

ImageThe thought of growing bamboo strikes fear into the hearts of many gardeners. We've all heard horror stories of bamboo devouring available garden space in an unchecked gallop for world domination. Urban legends of homeowners moving to get away from their bamboo nightmare are whispered about in gardening circles everywhere. Paul Whittaker's book puts those fears to rest.

Practical Bamboos is just that; a practical guide designed to assist the gardener in choosing the proper bamboo cultivars for their specific needs. Instead of a sales pitch, the book is great guide to bamboo culture and an in depth glossary of 50 excellent bamboos helps a gardener choose wisely.

Beautiful images of mature bamboo used in the landscape gives the gardener good guidelines for planning their own gardens and helpful hints along the way gives the novice guidance. The best advice is to choose a bamboo for its habits, instead of simply selecting one for color or appearance. Most often, with a bit of research, there is a bamboo that fits the habitat requirement, with the desired appearance.

ImageSome bamboos are content to live their lives in containers and each species, or cultivar in the glossary is noted if it is suitable for this method of gardening. There are even bamboos that are happy in a balcony garden, or contained in a courtyard. Some bamboos favor bog-like conditions while others are suitable for xeriscape gardens. Cultivars that form clumps are noted, while the running varieties are listed and gardeners cautioned on their use. By using the checklist provided for each one, gardeners can select a bamboo that is happy where they plant it, and that in turn, makes a happy gardener. There is a bamboo for almost every climate, from the hot and steamy tropics to the cool and short season north. Some hardy bamboo withstands temperatures to -25F (-31.6C) There are towering tree-like varieties and tiny little plants only one foot tall.

Many gardeners are unaware that bamboo foliage is as diverse as the culms that usually take the spotlight. Variegated varieties and bamboos with lush, large leaves , some with weeping tendencies, can be a focal point in many gardens.

This book calms fears and introduces the skeptical to a wonderful, exotic garden asset. Preventing total domination by your garden bamboo is simply a matter of a little research and wise choices.

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