Bamboo and Roses (I concede.)

Arbor rose

Well, dear readers, you may as well know the truth. This post was *strictly* supposed to be about my continued adventure with bamboo, but something got in the way. Yes, the rose fairies, and there you have it. I’ve said it straight out. What’s a girl to do? I tried to tell them this space was reserved for BAMBOO, but, no, they wouldn’t have it. And so after being plied by overwhelmingly intoxicating fragrances and colors that frankly made me swoon, and several attempts to explain the meaning of the words Out of Context, words that went softly sweeping into an offshore breeze, the letters falling like petals into the neighbors’ gardens, well, I finally succumbed to their overwhelming silent argument and here we are, a just truce. So you will notice our sublime agree-ment. They get top billing. (You can see why.) And then one paragraph (and perhaps a photo) for me, then a rose. And that’s how it is. The juxtaposition of the reds and greens of my current reality. Amen. Now on with my story, Bamboo/Part Two. What? Oh, all right. You’re right. It was a paragraph and it is your turn. (Isn’t this ridiculous?)

Pink rugosa

So the bamboo plot thickens! As now I have two bamboo plants, but not one I can use as a screen to replace the annoying ivy that covers the fence between my property and the one next door, thereby creating a privacy screen in support of my sunbathing propensities and my private yoga deck which is still in the planning stages. Thus my attention returns to the very neighbors in favor of replacing the ivy with bamboo, who are hoping against hope that the dreaded ivy will disappear (probably after decades of trimming it as it has crept through their fence, poor things), after realizing that they HAVE bamboo on their property! I must explore! I slip next door to speak with my neighbor, Dave, and there he is, working on a new fence, bless his heart.


(Oh, my, those roses creeping into everything! I would think that would count, wouldn’t you?)

“Dave,” I say, “I notice you have bamboo in your yard.”

“In the yard?” he says. “That’s not the yard,” his North Carolina roots informing his declaration. “That’s the creek! It’s just there to help prevent erosion along the creek.” (There is a good-sized creek running on the far side of their property.) Okey dokey. Let’s explore the bamboo along the creek. “It hasn’t gone anywhere in 35 years!” Dave declares. Ah. Then that would make it a clumping bamboo! Hallelujah. I suggest to my friend that the best way to learn about a plant is to work with it. This makes sense to him and I can see he is amenable. I come back with pruning sheers and gloves and work on the bamboo for about two hours, simply using my intuition to guide me. Dave kindly offers a tarp to catch everything I’m cutting down, and another larger pruning tool. I work carefully, as at the base of the bamboo is a very old entangled blackberry bush, wouldn’t you know it? And I have to walk out on an old bridge that spans the creek to reach some of the old dead branches of each.

Eventually I surrender, putting down all tools, and taking off my gloves and begin digging in with my fingernails to peel back the dried outer shell of the stalks (called culms)–to reveal the most beautiful pale green bodies underneath! Yay! Strikin’ it rich on the bamboo front! It reaches at some points about eight feet into the sky, culminating in a lovely variegated plume. Near as I can tell this bamboo that is relegated to “not part of the garden” but simply “erosion control” is actually quite valuable and I fully intend to learn what I can by helping to restore it, and then eventually transplanting some to our common fenceline. It is, in fact, a Godsend, and I’m grateful.

“I see you have a camera with you,” says Dave. “Did you see that rose down at the end of the driveway? You might want to take a look.” (See? They are everywhere, whispering in the ears of elderly men and tiny children, dogs and deer and all manner of beings, capturing our hearts and sights and reminding us of the full beauty of a spring finally come ’round.) “No, Dave, I will have to look into that.”

Dave's rose

Love and many blessings,
Kathryn xoxo

24 Responses to “Bamboo and Roses (I concede.)”

  1. I Love this post! What a beautiful adventure,
    told with some humour! Great pics…
    And the roses!!! Stunning!!! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Thanks, Mom!

  2. Hi, my Antonia! Thank you! So appreciate your comments! Love you, M.D.

  3. What a great post! It made me smile this morning! Ah yes roses, how can you resist them? lol ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I too have Bamboo on the edge of the property line some of it is as high as 20 ft not sure what type it is but it has made great curtain rods for our bedroom and I use smaller piece as stacks and such.

    The University of Georgia has a bamboo farm about 8 miles from my home
    here’s the web site .

    love this post, the pictures and your words makes me want to drop in and help.
    happy day, Cherry

  5. Good morning, Karen. Thank you for stopping by and for the kind words. Kathryn

  6. Hi, Cherry Girl! You are too sweet. Thanks for the link! They have a nice workshop coming up I’d go to if it were around here. And a plant sale! ! I’m impressed you are taking practical advantage of the bamboo on your property! Kathryn xox

  7. Your roses are intoxicating — fragrance and color. ๐Ÿ™‚ I can see how you would easily get side-tracked by these beauties.

  8. Hi, Nancy! Yes, once the roses are in bloom life just seems all the richer, doesn’t it? ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Great post. I like the picture of Dave,too. He looks all set with his hat and hammer. I loved it when he also mentioned roses.

  10. Thanks, Philip! Isn’t Dave adorable?? OMG, I loved how he was dressed when I went to visit. PERFECTLY American Gothic. All he needed was the pitchfork! He is the sweetest being, a retired school teacher. And, yes, it totally cracked me up when he sent me to look at the rose. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m tellin’ ya’…synchronicity is a gas. Kathryn xox

  11. Hi Kathryn, what a lovely story with fairies, friendly neighbors and roses. Your neighbor is very wonderful in his working outfit. And a rose lover to boot. You are lucky to have such a sweet guy next door. It sounds as though your bamboo will be perfect. Goodness all around.

    Frances at Faire Garden

  12. Thank you, Frances! And thank you for stopping by. Yes, he’s a dear, as is his wife. They have no daughters, only sons. I bake them cookies. Dave sometimes introduces me to folks as The Cookie Lady. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love your comment: Goodness all around. What a lovely affirmation, and, indeed, true. Kathryn xoxo

  13. You always tell a simple story with such panache!

  14. Hi, Brenda! Thank you so much! Kathryn

  15. Your bamboo saga delights me, Kathryn, as do your ‘sunbathing propensities’ (that my husband wished me to check out). Your lush land and dear neighbor, Dave, speak to me … you are a lucky woman with many more rich tales to tell. *BIG HUGS*.

  16. Great Asian adventure, roses and bamboo. Dave is darling. So glad you showed him to us too.~~Dee

  17. Hi Kathryn,
    I’m pleased you enjoyed the bee post, it was a really fascinating visit. Stuart did talk about colony collapse and his thoughts were that the parasite that lives on the bees does not usually kill the bee, but when the bee becomes stressed like us they become susceptible to disease and then can suffer colony collapse. One of the ways the bee becomes stressed is when it is moved about from one area to the next when they are used to pollinate fruit crops.
    It is very important a cure is found as without bees we are doomed…

    Nice rose pictures by the way.

    Cheers Mark

  18. Hi, my dear Joey–Your husband is a kick. Maybe you should make a little private place on your property and surprise him. ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes, I am blessed here in this little town and its treasures are beginning to open to me, most likely as a result of at last becoming open to exploring. So many more stories to come, God willing.
    Thank you for visiting. Love, Kathryn

  19. Good morning, Twitter pal, Dee! Very nice to see you’ve come by in my wee hours. Yes, Dave is a dear. Apparently he actually told his wife (who may be reading this very note shortly) that his photo is on my blog and they are a bit excited. (It just keeps getting better and better, doesn’t it?) Kathryn xox

  20. Mark, good morning and thank you for your note. Yes, I would agree fully w/ Stuart’s assessment. I wrote about this here. And thank you for your kind comments re: photos. ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Delightful post, especially your meanderings on roses. Looking at the photo of your bamboo, it appears to be not a bamboo, but Arundo donax, a giant reed grass. If it’s growing along the banks of a freshwater stream where it could have pieces break off and drift, it becomes an invasive, destructive plant in freshwater systems.

    It’s hard to tell for sure, since the photo is taken from a bit of a distance. I’m not writing to start a guilt trip, but to help you be a good environmental steward. So you might want to have the plant positively identified, and also read up on it’s invasive qualities at

    I hope that if it is A. donax, it’s in a safe place. Thanks…BG

  22. LOL! Oh, Billy, a reader who is awake and observant! Yes, you are absolutely right. So now I will have to share this story NOW, rather than later (or twice, for those who miss this). I went to a little event the other night and the man who sold me my big bamboo informed me that, “The bamboo next door to your house is not bamboo.” WHAT??? And he told me same, and I researched it and found out above and then had Philip at Philip’s Garden Blog weigh in, so I’d already decided I needed to let folks know, including the neighbors, which I have done. I guess if there is good news it’s that this creek will be dry as a bone soon. And, no, I won’t be transplanting it to my yard! Thanks, Billy! Good one! ๐Ÿ™‚ Kathryn

  23. Picture of Dave is absolutely the heart winning ๐Ÿ™‚ Iconic Gardener, right?
    Billy has a good eye – congrats.
    Ewa in the Garden

  24. Hi, Ewa! Yes and yes! ๐Ÿ™‚ Kathryn xoxo

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