Saturday, May 12, 2007

when bamboo fight back

I never thought i'd say this with absolute certainty, but plants have a mind of their own. it all started 9 years ago...

we have been members of the missouri botanical garden for years..there's nothing as soothing as walking almost endless acres of carefully tended gardens, intoxicating perfumes from blooming native & exotic flowers. everyone smiling, greeting hello to strangers. it was this feeling i wanted to capture. with that in mind, we set to work. evenings...weekends spent digging, weeding, tilling..finally, planting...we were proud of the end result...a small, shade japanese garden with a basin & a shishi odoshi...on the opposite side, a gravel pathway, bordered by uneven heights of logs, a pond with koi & goldfish lazily swimming away...chasing the bubbles formed by the waterfall cascading. our little heaven on earth.

2007...everything is mature, cherry trees blooming profusely, pink & white..flowering almond shrubs, orange quince, junipers, mugho pines, yews, hostas, water lilies orange, white, red...fountain bamboo arcing gracefully over trickling water...and...the other bamboo..bamboo..everywhere. what??? that's not supposed to be there...what, it's in our neighbor's yard, too!?!?! wait..this is supposed to be CLUMPING bamboo..NOT running...checking to read the label (which i've kept all these years for care purposes). yes, CLUMPING. i have this impending feeling of doom...someone, a trickster, a disgruntled employee...probably switched the bamboo & shipped it, with a huge smirk..."running bamboo, they would never know the difference when they look at it". heart beating fast, i leaned over the side of the that??? no! a single bamboo shoot has pierced through the pond liner- the same 45 mm EPDM liner, with the 20 year impervious-to-anything-mother-nature-can-dish-out liner!! with a sinking feeling, i walked around the pond...and sure enough, there were even more bamboo shoots growing..where they were never planted! i looked sadly at the bamboo..not quite understanding how something i have lovingly tended could turn on me so spitefully. i felt a sense of betrayal. with trepidation, i walked around the fast-forming grove..and saw shoots coming up..far, far away from where i originally planted it, those many years ago. counted 43 new shoots. this won't do! it was either the pond of the bamboo...

armed with pick-axes, shovels & loppers, my husband & i set to first, cutting the shoots to about a foot from the ground. with a sinking feeling, we dug, intricate maze of runners, crisscrossing. after hours of working laboriously, we cleared almost all of the spreading menace. high fives all around, glass of ice cold coca cola to celebrate...and made a solemn vow..unless it comes without roots, no more bamboo!

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