Monday, October 28, 2013

The Bamboo Ranch

The Happy Ladies Club took a field trip on Thursday.
The weather is finally cool enough to plan an outdoor adventure.
There's no worry about rain at this time of year; we can count on blue skies every day.
We gathered in the driveway of Matt and Holly Finstrom's home.
Together, they've turned a hobby into a thriving enterprise, all on their little half acre of paradise right in the middle of a sub-division.  We carpooled and parked carefully, wanting to be good neighbors, wondering if we'd like to live across the street from a bustling business. 
It wasn't exactly bustling. 
We were the only visitors that day.
We sat in an eclectic assortment of outdoor seating as Matt explained the difference between clumpers  and runners.  The runners grow as rhizomes, sending out an underground root-and-bulb-structure that seeks water... wherever it may be hiding.  The clumpers send up many shoots in a relatively small area; they can be contained by limiting the water outside the area they are allotted.  

He was suggesting creating a pot in the ground.  Normally, that's not a good thing.  Plants have a tendency to become root-bound when they are placed in amended soil, the roots twisting around each other, strangling the plant as they search frantically for nutrients which are not available outside the comfort of the emendations.  .  
 Apparently, bamboo operates on another plane entirely.  When told us to build a berm with what we took out and fill the hole with real soil,not this Tucson stuff,  I was skeptical.  Then we went into the back yard, and stood beneath the proof of his method.

The bamboo were huge and healthy and required no more than a gallon or two of water twice a day in the summer and much less in every other month to cover his home with dappled unlight.

It was ten degrees cooler under the canopy than it was in the driveway out front.

Aside from shading the house, the canes can be used for furniture, and wind chimes, and flutes.
Bamboo flooring feels great on bare feet.
The canes can be split open and cooked or used as a cooking envelope.
The pile against his fence is a work in progress.... or many works in progress.

We had an interesting example of photo-tropism, as Matt told us the cane parallel to the ground was lookin' for the good stuff and not ailing. 

The canes themselves are beautiful.  Some become bulbous when starved for water, and some are variegated and some are yellow and some are black.
The shoot in this pot will double in size every day until its growth spurt is completed.
Bamboo is a grass; it grows all at once rather than gradually over the years.
The new growth is an entire cane.
Next year there will be more canes, in a clump or down the runners' path.

Matt and Holly sell bamboo plants selected especially for Tucson, and they have a boutique with bowls and plates and cutting boards and utensils and wind chimes and tee shirts.... none of which were available for us on Thursday.
Sigh.... we left with descriptive flyers and a one-sheet catalog and the feeling that we'd met a true believer.

Now, if he could only convince my Home Owners' Association that bamboo is not really an invasive plant.

As always, the Happy Ladies Club adventure included food.
Teresa's Mosaic cafe is aptly named.
No one seemed to mind as I walked around, taking photos of the tables.

It was somewhat vertiginous to eat on the glass set several inches above the tiles, but that didn't stop us.
Miss Marjorie took half her burrito home for dinner, but the rest of us were members of the clean plate club.  They even gave us separate checks.

I love it when an adventure turns out this well.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like so much fun! I love bamboo and it's a sustainable; so it's a great building resource. The tables at the restaurant are way cool. I think it would be hard for me to eat 'cause I would be too mesmerized by the beauty of the mosaics.

    Glad you had a fun day.

    Megan xxx


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