The Bamboo View


You hoo it’s me! Baby me back in 1999-2000.  Taken on holiday in the Botanical Gardens in Kandy, Sri Lanka. I recommend it as a place to visit – a wonderful sprawling, landscaped garden. Places to stare  up and wonder and spaces to stare down and wonder.  Space to explore and wander. Seats to sit back and doze on. A snack shop – cold drinks and sweet treats. Space to sing the song “I’m a lumberjack and I’m alright” (from Monty Python), space to muck about, space to laugh, space to chill – if I remember right.

So there’s me and a bamboo. The bamboo is stunning isn’t it! Magnificent wouldn’t be too strong a word would it. Cathedral like with it’s light and shade, scale and beauty. Too right it is stunning, its’ in its natural environment.  So we agree it looks fabulous there don’t we? Good. Let’s leave it there in its natural environment. Me and the world will be a happier place if you do

Now back to the promenade…….. Remember the bamboo view ………

10_30_12_View to Change

I wrote a bit about it here and here

The Bloody Bamboo (to give it its official title) blighted my view and blighted my plot. Planted on a neighbouring allotment the bamboo was allowed to grow and grow unchecked. Spreading and suckering and clumping and getting in the way.

So can I ask the world a favour? Or rather can I ask allmonteers a favour? Don’t plant bamboos on your plots – it will only result in some poor bugger  and her mates spending an afternoon undermining and attacking the plant with mattocks, spades, forks, will power, swearing, sweat and tears – ok we didn’t attack with sweat and tears they were the net results. Sheer brute force was needed.  The brute force was provided by my loved one and a friend, without them I wouldn’t have stood a chance of digging this up and out.

There’s still work to do, we need to dispose of the bamboo canes and roots, either burning or taking them to the dump. I’m undecided.  Then there’s the matter of trying to maintain that patch and pull any bamboo stragglers out.

10_30_12_Use (2)

10 reasons not to plant a bamboo on an allotment –

1. They grow and grow and grow – they clump and spread

2 – 10. Repeat 9 times

I know the sound the wind makes as it passes through the leaves and canes sounds good. I know it’s a nice thought – to just hear the sound of the wind and leaves.  But it’s still not enough. Why not think of something else to plant, something native, something beneficial to insects and pollinators. Something that won’t try and take over your plot and your neighbours plot.

If after reading this you really HAVE TO plant a bamboo (and I mean HAVE TO – like your life depends on it or something) do so in a pot which is resting on a concrete paving slab. Plant a nice one that doesn’t sucker. They do exist. I know they are a little bit more expensive than the standard ones you see in the garden centres, but the non-suckering kind tend to be a bit more attractive, you can get black or stripey ones.  And if it’s kept in a pot making escape bids is a whole lot harder!

Ok I should stop the rant shouldn’t I ? The positives? Yes there are plenty –now the bamboo is out there is a fantastic and huge new space to grow veggies, fruit and flowers on. A brighter view. More light and air. More space. Just More. And a job well done.

04_13_13_ Bamboo view


Back to the I’m a Lumberjack and I’m alright, altogether now one, two three……. timber ! –

I wanted to be… a lumberjack!

Leaping from tree to tree, as they float down the mighty rivers of British Columbia. The Giant Redwood. The Larch. The Fir! The mighty Scots Pine! The lofty flowering Cherry! The plucky little Apsen! The limping Roo tree of Nigeria. The towering Wattle of Aldershot! The Maidenhead Weeping Water Plant! The naughty Leicestershire Flashing Oak! The flatulent Elm of West Ruislip! The Quercus Maximus Bamber Gascoigni! The Epigillus! The Barter Hughius Greenus!

With my best buddy by my side, we’d sing! Sing! Sing!
I’m a lumberjack, and I’m okay.
I sleep all night and I work all day.

He’s a lumberjack, and he’s okay.
He sleeps all night and he works all day.

I cut down trees. I eat my lunch.
I go to the lavatory.
On Wednesdays I go shoppin’
And have buttered scones for tea.

He cuts down trees. He eats his lunch.
He goes to the lavatory.
On Wednesdays he goes shopping
And has buttered scones for tea.

He’s a lumberjack, and he’s okay.
He sleeps all night and he works all day.

I cut down trees. I skip and jump.
I like to press wild flowers.
I put on women’s clothing
And hang around in bars.

He cuts down trees. He skips and jumps.
He likes to press wild flowers.
He puts on women’s clothing
And hangs around in bars?!

He’s a lumberjack, and he’s okay.
He sleeps all night and he works all day.

I cut down trees. I wear high heels,
Suspendies, and a bra.
I wish I’d been a girlie,
Just like my dear Papa.

He cuts down trees. He wears high heels,
Suspendies, and a bra?!

He’s a lumberjack, and he’s okay.
He sleeps all night and he works all day.

He’s a lumberjack, and he’s okaaaaay.
He sleeps all night and he works all day.



  • It’s 6:45 am here, and I’m laughing my head off…I love you, even if you did get that damn song stuck in my head! 😀
    Good luck with the new ground – that’s going to need some serious watching!

  • How long (and how many people) did it take to dig that huge bamboo plant out? It’s made such a difference though – all that space and light to work with. I like your 10 reasons not to plant bamboo… not that I’ve ever been tempted to do so!

  • What a job! It must feel good to have reclaimed all that space. And I grumble about the mint that invades my garden from the neighboring plot! Mint isn’t so bad compared to bamboo!

    • Oh I don’t know when mint is on the move it’s really on the MOVE !! But yes it does feel good to have got that job done, now to cover it and plant it up with some pumpkins 🙂

  • Oh dear, poor you (and your friends)! As much as I adore bamboo, it must be planted where it has lots and lots of space to spread, or where it is trimmed weekly, or monthly at the most. In any case, what’s a bamboo doing on an allotment in northern England?

    • I think that is the thing that has always puzzled me the most – why plant a bamboo on an allotment, what was it doing there? Flowers – yes! Fruit yes! nut trees – yes! But bamboo just doesn’t add up !

  • “Like” isn’t a strong enough word. I LOVE this post — it had me nodding and laughing and flashbacking to my own bamboo headache. We gave it a try, planting it behind a metal wall that we sunk into the ground. The bamboo runners found any way it could around, over and through the metal — so the runners were actually heading straight for the pool. That’s when the great bamboo removal project began. Lesson learned.

    • I think if you planted one either inside or just outside a nuclear bunker it would find it’s way in and out! But yours was heading to the pool that is priceless and scary Kevin!
      This is the second one we’ve dug out – one from our garden was deep and big too. A mattock was the only way – that or hire a bobcat and driver 🙂

  • fantastic, i am off to buy your apple tree this week, is an apple ok or would you rather the apricot, i am leaning towards an apricot. Gorgeous shots today.. c

    • Oh wow!! (actually wow doesn’t do this justice)
      I’m planting an apple tree next week on the plot – joy of joys, so feel free to lean towards an apricot, I love them, or anything nutty. I’m thinking of planting a cob nut (Kentish Hazelnut tree) on the plot too – that way the next generation will reap the benefits and we’ll have fun watching it grow 🙂

      • do you need two , hazelnuts cross pollinate using the wind, i wonder whether the cob nut is the same.. and YES.. it is an apricot for you then! c

        • I’m at the ideas stage, but thanks I do need to do some research – I just love the idea of planting nut trees, something about them being there for future generations – so thanks for sending me back to my books 🙂

  • Mmmm we ‘ve got a bamboo plant in our back garden but it looks as spindly, weedy and sick as it did 6 years ago when I first noticed it – no chance of it getting in anyone’s way – i knew i didnt have green fingers, even in relation to weeds!

  • I think over the years that Monty Python segued into the lumberjack song from several skits, including a pet shop (“This is a dead parrot!”) and a travel agent’s. I agree about bamboo. There’s a book called “Mrs. Greenthumbs”, can’t remember the author, where she describes trying to remove bamboo from a garden she had just moved into. The only thing that worked in then end was starving the roots by mowing it as it came up over and over, but it took months.

    • The Dead Parrot was a superb skit wasn’t it!
      I empathise with Mrs Greenthumbs ! Fortnately for me I had help otherwise I don’t know what I would have done. Hope you have a super week and get out into the garden

  • I love bamboo but not in my yard just for that reason. The same goes for mint :).

  • Fun with bamboo (not). I really enjoyed reading about your adventures from the comfort of my bamboo-free home. I’ve always enjoyed Monty Python and the Lumberjack song.

  • Oh dear, you’ve launched into Python? It must really have gotten you all fired up! 🙂

    Can’t say I blame you, bamboo is a right bugger to get rid of – remember it’s a grass, and spread and grows like one – I believe it’s the fastest growing plant in the world. Frankly, unless you have a pet panda, I can’t think of a single persuasive reason to plant it in an allotment or a home garden.

    • Thank you Celia I’d forgotten it was a grass, that explains a lot !
      Now Debra from Breathe Lighter (in California) did a post a few weeks ago about an outrageously fast growing plant, I’ll see if I can find it

  • This song brings back memories!
    That bamboo in Sri Lanka is amazing. Glad you got that clump under control on the allotment though!

    • Isn’t the bamboo in Sri Lanka beautiful, I love those kind of experiences, seeing how things can grow in their natural environment. And seeing them there so happy and healthy tells e not to try and do it at home, let alone an allotment 🙂

  • Not too sure which I laughed at the most you in full rant mode (and ANOTHER thing…) or being able to sing along with the lumberjack song 🙂
    Good job on the bamboo matey. Now its done just think of what you can plant in all that new space!

  • Oh yeah….Bamboo is better left to it’s natural habitats…jungles far away from our vegetable gardens. I just had to have some Bamboo in my yard a few years ago so I planted clumps of it in large deep pots and there it remains. I love the way it looks, but not near my veggie garden please!

    • I’m with you Teresa, it does look splendid, provides a wonderful background for planting, provides shelter, provides sound effects – but as you say keep it away from the veggies !

    • Oh my Linda I just looked up images for Kudzu and wow that IS invasive! I’ve not heard of it before so it makes my bamboo problems seem minor in comparison. relief!

  • we have had our own battle with bamboo, and only plant the clumping species now … but here the kangaroos are preventing it from growing … they nibble all the tasty bamboo shoots as they pop up! good work claire … enjoy your new space 🙂

    • Kanagroos eating bamboo shoots – you learn something new everyday Christine !
      Lots of plans for the new space, ultimately it will be a fruit bed but this year to start clearing and enriching the ground I’ll lay cardboard and manure down and plant squash 🙂 I think they’ll love it there

  • I guess bamboo…are like blackberry bushes. Lovely “product”, but need to be radically disciplined in growth.

    • absolutely and funnily enough I was hacking back some of the brambles that grow as a fence at the back of my plot the other day – a job I should have done in autumn! But at least I can make Crème De Mures from the blackberry bushes 🙂

  • Oh, you are a funny girl. I’ve had bamboo for years and have good and bad feelings about it. I just had the kind you describe removed and a new species planted. This one grows tall but doesn’t spread all over the place like to other one. I have to confess though, I keep asking myself why did I go again with bamboo.

    • I’m imagining sitting on your porch looking out into your verdant garden, and I can imagine the bamboo looks wonderful there, providing a green backdrop for the other plants, rustling in the wind ……
      I just don’t understand why someone would plant it on an allotment!

  • At least you didn’t lose your sense of humor while battling the encroaching bamboo, Claire! I have bamboo in confined places only, but I remember my mother-in-law having a situation similar to yours and she was very vocal about what a beast it could be. What a shame that spring planting is encumbered with bamboo maintenance! 😦 Good luck in the battle!

    • We kept up the banter Debra – mostly about “undermining it” i.e. undermining it’s confidence and calling it every name under the sun 🙂
      Oh I sympathise with your MIL, I really do, and being vocal about it is just the tip of the iceberg 🙂
      Oh well, onwards and onwards – I now have a newly cleared planting space, won’t that be fun!

  • Leave it to you, Claire, to take us to a beautiful garden in Sri Lanka (Now that’s an oxymoron!) and then remind us of The Lumberjack Song. Ha!
    I’m having the same problem with trumpet vines. Their suckers are propping up all over my yard, the rose beds, even out of cracks in the sidewalks. The worst part of it all is that I planted them 10 years ago in an effort to attract hummingbirds. I’ve not seen a single hummingbird but I can’t begin to estimate the number of evil looks I’ve received from my neighbors as they dig up the vines from their lawns and gardens. Maybe I should replace them with bamboo in the hope of attracting pandas.

    • Oh so you really are popular with your neighbours then! I just looked up the images for Trumpet Vine and I can see why you would want one…… and why your neighbours love your gardening…..
      But honestly John, Sri Lanka is a wondrous place to visit, such happy memories for me, I’d love to go back. An dyes we really did sing the Lumber Jack song as we went around the gardens 🙂

  • Not just allottments. People shouldn’t plant it in gardens either! actually it’s spread from outside the garden, I also fight an -un-ending battle with blue morning glory – beautiful in UK but a rampant killer and throttler here with no natural predators, except me.

  • Okay, I agree on allotments. But there is something magnificent about them. I enjoy them very much in their appropriate places.

    • I’m trying VERY hard not to crack a poor taste joke…… about fingers, sticking them, and dykes
      See I’m trying
      And yes, definitely in large pots and check to see if it’s a suckering kind (a no-no) or a clumping kind (a yes)

  • Damn you for putting that song in my head and for looking such a babe in amongst the bamboo! Isn’t it the stuff that swingers plant in their front gardens to give a “sign” that they…well, … swing? Or is that pampas grass?! Have you seen any odd looking couples lurking round your allotment recently…that should answer the question!

    • Me and my laptop are grateful I wasn’t drinking tea when I read that!
      The only odd balls I see at the allotments are fellow allotment holders 🙂 now back to the pampas grass – I remember having one in a garden in London…… in the back garden !!!

      • Ooh, putting it in the back garden probably has a whoel other mysterious meaning 😉 Actually, I think I had some once too in a house in Hampshire…horrid stuff that just kept growing!

  • Bamboo is so invasive! I hope you can tame the beast! We have a beautiful black bamboo in a huge pot in our patio and that is exactly where it will stay.

    • Black bamboos are stunning, I love seeing them in the right setting and I’m sure yours looks wonderful on your patio – hope you have a super week

  • This is a great post! You inject humor and history and even a sound track to a big problem (invasive species) and a lot of work for you and your friends. Thanks, Claire!

  • We used to live in Florida where bamboo really thrived. One thing we knew for sure was to never plant anything but clumping bamboo. Black bamboo is beautiful but extremely expensive…even in Florida where the tropical landscaping nurseries grew it.

  • How can I have survived for so long without hearing the fabulous Lumberjack Song?!

    My parents planted bamboo in our western Washington yard, where the temperate climate’s not too far from your own and bamboo could run amok with ease. Thankfully, Mom was a careful gardener and the two of them planted the bamboo in a large, heavy gauge steel tub and it never had a chance to stray–despite growth that was visible on a daily basis. You are right to warn of its dangers! There are enough invasive alien plants in the world that well-meaning people let go astray.

Submit a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s