Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Thamnocalamus tessallatus

Thamnocalamus tessallatus in my garden with Tetrapanax 'Steroidal Giant'
     One of the many kinds of clumping bamboo I grow in my garden is Thamnocalamus tessallatus, a tight clumper from South Africa.  This bamboo is rated hardy to zone 7 and, indeed, it has never suffered any damage from the cold in the almost 15 years it has been growing here in my garden.  For many years after I planted this bamboo I wasn't sure I liked it because in its youth it had a unkempt appearance, much like that of many teenagers I have known. However, the ugly duckling has now transformed into a swan as you can see!
     This bamboo, along with clumps of 7 other bamboos, forms a visual barrier on one side of my garden. That part of the garden is relatively close to a number of houses and so when I first began creating the garden I wanted to block those houses out with a hedge.  I originally planted Canadian hemlock, but the conditions in that part of the garden were not uniform and the hemlocks did not grow uniformly which is what you need to create a good hedge.  So I began planting bamboos which I staggered so they are not all in a straight line.  This has proved to be a great way to screen the neighbors and it has the advantage of not requiring clipping which the hedge would have.  In fact, I learned from this experience that a requirement that all plants in a row have a uniform appearance is a requirement just asking for trouble. Chances are that sooner or later one of the plants in the row will die, and then where are you?
     This picture above was created from 4 different exposures of the same shot using a technique known as HDR or High Dynamic Range photography.  This is a useful technique where, if you expose for one part of the photo, another part is either too dark or too light. By merging these 4 exposures, I was able to get all parts of the shot correctly exposed.  To do this it is recommended that you use a tripod, although I have seen HDR photos where no tripod was used. All shots, however, must be exactly, or pretty much, the same except for the exposure.  Then I use a program called Photomatix Pro to merge the shots, and then I process that merged image in Photoshop as I would any other image.

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