A few years ago, I developed an interest in Japanese gardens and decided to create a small one in our own backyard.
Reading about the elements required for keeping with the Japanese tradition, I learned that the primary color in such gardens is green--not much emphasis on showy flowering plants at all.
One of the best plants to use, therefore, is bamboo. The plant stays green year round, has a nice flowing structure, and can be used as a border for all or part of the garden.
Living in middle Tennessee, I was not optimistic that I would be able to find a nearby source for procuring bamboo plants to add into my Japanese garden. I had certainly never seen any offered for sale in our local garden centers.
Searching online, I was pleasantly surprised to find the Almaville Bamboo Company listed as a bamboo grower within about thirty miles of our home.
So my wife and I set off to take a tour of the place and to see if they had any plants (and suggestions) suitable for our soon to be backyard Japanese garden.
We were greeted by the owners and pleased to learn that the business is a family run operation.
They gave us a tour of the grounds where we were able to view the different varieties of bamboo and learn of their growth patterns (height and spread, etc.).
We were amazed to learn how quickly the new shoots of bamboo reach their maximum height once they break through the surface of the ground. Also stunned to see some of the tree-like varieties which would grow in height to 30 feet or more and in diameter to 6 to 8 inches.
Other varieties are shorter and denser, almost shrub-like, in form. More information about bamboo on another page in our GardenVoice site.
We decided on the Spectabilis variety, desirable for its height and its flowing appearance and good as a screening plant at the edge of our Japanese garden. Also, this is primarily a clumping variety of bamboo (although the rhizomes do run somewhat and need root pruning each year).
The Almaville Bamboo Company is located close to the Arrington Vineyards, which also makes for a neat tour (and tasting) adventure all in the same day. Learn more on another of our pages at Bamboo: Green Screen & Oriental Cuisine