Friday, June 8, 2012

Fargesia robusta

Fargesia Robusta behind Lioness Sculpture

Fargesia Robusta and Camperdown Elm
     I grow a lot of bamboo in my garden--it creates evergreen structure, privacy, and a sense of the exotic.  I have probably grown 15 or 20 different kinds and I have to say that the best of the lot is Fargesia robusta.  This is a clumping banboo, not a runner, and it is a tight clumber. That means that although it widens every year, it does not send out long running underground shoots like some bamboos do. However, as you can see from the photos, it is not a plant for a tiny space. The clump eventually gets fairly large.  The two clumps which I have in the garden have been there for about 10 years and I planted them from 1 gal. containers.
     The reasons I like this bamboo so much are because (1) the culms stand straight up and do not lean over like a fountain as some fargesias and other bamboos do; (2) the height is about perfect for most gardens--some bamboos get so tall that they create a lot of shade in the garden--this one is tall enough to screen the neighbors, but not so tall that it creates too much shade; (3) the culms grow so close together that this plant creates basically a solid screen at lower levels unlike some bamboos, particularly the runners; (4) the pattern of white and green on the culms is beautiful;  (5) this plant looks good all winter--it has never suffered damage from the cold as some clumping bamboos do; and (6) the overall shape of the plant is beautiful--I have never pruned or thinned the plants in the pictures.
     I originally got this bamboo from Jackie Heinricher of Boo-Shoot Gardens.  Boo-Shoot Gardens is a wholesale bamboo nursery near Anacortes, Washington which is responsible for the introduction of a large number of clumping bamboos to the general public. Before the advent of Boo-Shoot, you could only get clumpers like this one from tiny specialist nurseries, usually run by aging hippies, and they generally cost a fortune for a small plant.  Boo-Shoot succeeded in tissue culturing bamboos, which is a form of propagation whereby certain cells of a plant are induced to create a new plant in the laboratory. This method can produce thousands of new plants in short order. I would recommend going to Boo-Shoot's website and checking them out.
     There are now several forms of Fargesia robusta on the market. The ones shown in the pictures are what I believe is called Fargesia robusta "Green Screen" or "Campbell". It is available from  Bamboo Gardens, a bamboo specialist nursery in Oregon.

1 comment:

  1. Hello,

    It's possible to use the first picture for my book on clumping Bamboo ?