Monday, December 20, 2010

The Bamboo Effect

About 9 months ago, I mentioned stopping at the Reid Park Zoo.  I was still learning how to blog at that time and didn't really understand the whole "take your pictures" thing as you post because it's way more fun and personal!  As I've gotten more into this project that I've started here at El Presidio and in my life, I've discovered that you need a good camera for photos and film.......and that you ALWAYS need to bring your camera everywhere you go.  I think around April or May I figured it out....and at that point, I hadn't a clue on how to find blogs to read as I was a virtual unknown....after all, this blog was initially for me and my documentation of what I do around the property in case anything ever happens to me down the road.....but it turned into something better.  I love reading people's work in their own lives and it has replaced my magazine reading almost completely for this online free garden subscription.....and it's not just located in's all over!!  So with a cup of coffee, comfy pj's, and my AM glasses I sit down to share and read my fellow blogger's adventures.....

The reason I started to write what I did was because back in March or April, I had gone to the Reid Park Zoo to examine several groves of bamboo, but I didn't take any pics nor was it a central topic because back then I didn't know how to break up postings into central themes like I do today or write run on sentences like I'm doing now:).  So I am going back today and to show you all through my camera lens what it is/was that I was talking about those many months ago.  This is the second part to the bamboo series.  The first part was posted back in October and titled the Bamboo Ranch.  This post will show others that bamboo can indeed be grown in the desert to a very successful height. It can also provide that privacy or tropical effect that  you are looking for in your own gardens.

When I first moved here, I thought it was all cacti and scrubby bushes with some citrus trees sprinkled in for fun.  Through my education and personal experiences, I see that a space or spaces can be transformed into anything you like provided you give the plants ample room to grow and also the proper growing conditions.  Bamboo is no exception.  It shouldn't be overdone as some people do.....but as a uniform screen or as an "island" amongst your other plants. It can be a show stopper.  Personally I love it mixed in with palm trees around a pool setting. 

Bamboo is a grass.  What does grass love?  SUN! and water and nitrogen.......those three ingredients together will create an incredible growth that will eventually become a giant amonst your garden plants.  Put the bamboo in shade and you'll see it grow much slower than its' friends in the sun.  I put mine around several areas of the property.....mostly being around the southern side. 

Around this time of year, the bamboo will not look as green as it normally does because it doesn't get as much sun.  Remember that bamboo will also shed its' leaves at some point.  Also remember that once you cut a bamboo stalk, it won't grow don't cut stalks unless they are for some reason needing to be controlled.

What's fascinating about the Reid Park Zoo is that it is a self contained island amongst the not so attractive 22nd street.  So in the South American exhibit, pay attention to what the bamboo is doing.  One gets lost in the "jungle" as they look at the animals, but also pay attention at how the gardens are laid out.  The bamboo is effectively screening out the background noises from 22nd street.....even more interesting, the wind blows through the canes and creates a very serene feel.....yet meters away, nasty cars and loud obnoxious people are doing their thing on the sidewalk.  Now imagine a suburb property, like most people's properties in a larger city and what they could do to "privatize" their own gardens.....

From the Presidio Gardens, I can see our ugly neighborhood, but with strategic planning, our courtyard will block this unsightly stain from our memories and contain a whole other worldly feel inside our gates. Some of this is inspiration from my Amazon excursions and some of this inspiration comes from Reid Park Zoo in regards to "the bamboo effect."

I know, for most people, a zoo is where you see animals, but look at the gardens of the zoo that surround the cages and I think you'll be surprised at what you find....a lot of research and planning went into the grounds the zoo is on.  PS.  2 mystery roles of photos have shown up from my Peru trip in 2008.....I don't know what's on them, but I hope they contain some fantastic images.  Just a hint of what's on them...if I remember correctly....I was doing an experimental shot from on top of a cliff overlooking Lake Titicaca during breakfast one morning from the island of Taquille.....I hope the film hasn't deterioted.....again, before I had my own digital camera:(  Until next time, happy gardening!!


  1. Glad you like our bamboo!
    Reid Park Zoo
    Twitter: @ReidParkZoo

  2. Fun to read and great explanations.


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