Bamboo as it should be -- HUGE !!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

SUBMARINE TORTOISES

As the days of Summer have started into Fall, the cooler temperatures & longer night hours signal to the tortoises in their outdoor compound, the need to locate areas where they can find the ability to somewhat regulate the temperatures around them.  Remember: They are reptiles & cold blooded.  They can not increase or decrease their own body temperature. Their are dependent on their environment for warmth & cold.

The photo provided shows two BLACK MOUNTAIN TORTOISES digging down into a large pile of dried bamboo leaves.  When finished, they will be completely covered with leaves & will utilize the leaves -- as well as warmth from the earth -- to maintain a comfortable temperature for the night.  Their movement will be almost none existent during the night & their movement will not return until the warmth of the morning sun & rising temperatures provide the necessary "heat" to  re-charge their body functions.


It will not be too many more days & all the tortoises -- I have a total of six -- will have to be relocated to their indoor, Winter quarters, not to return outside until the warm temperatures of Spring.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

BAMBOO DAMAGES CONTINUE

 
 
Maybe the best way to start off this posting is to explain why it has been so long since I last added to my blog. More than just a lack of effort on my part, it is the direct result of how -- & to who -- I am directing my thoughts & feelings now days.
 
The reason for my lack of blog publishing is simple:  FACEBOOK.
 
My Facebook "friends" -- numbering less than a hundred partners -- are all current friends, one time co-workers, &/or former school chums.  All these people had -- or have -- some form of "relationship" with me. I know them.  They know me.
 
My postings on Facebook are accompanied by at least one photo -- sometimes more -- & are quick & easy to produce.  I wish the blog was as easy to transcribe on.
 
With my blog, the information & writings are shared with ... well, everyone, everywhere. [Just look at the flag counter to see the various countries reading my pages.]  A lot of readers who I have no knowledge of & never will.
 
So ... bottom line, the Facebook postings have been quicker, with an intended & known audience & thus more frequent. 
 
I will continue my blog writings ... hopefully with enough interesting reading material for ... "everyone".
 
Now ... back to this blog posting.
 
My previous entry was regarding the damages on my property as the result of the MAJOR snow & ice storm in Central Arkansas at Christmas. I spent much of the past wet, cold Spring cutting, hauling & in many cases, burning the bamboo which split/broke due to the weight of the Christmas snow storm.
 
About the time I was getting a handle on the clearing process -- I still have one more LARGE pile of cut bamboo to be dealt with -- a Spring-time storm of straight-line winds, caused new havoc on my bamboo groves.  In this case, the damage was to new, tender bamboo growth ... that which was growing to replace much of the bamboo previously destroyed.
 

The photo above shows the current bamboo being removed.  The uniform green color is an indicator that each clum is NEW, un-seasoned bamboo growth.  The wood had not yet hardened & was thus at the mercy of the high winds.  It will be next year, before the bamboo grove will again attempt to replenish & replace itself.

I enjoy growing my bamboo & love the look it features to my property. Controlling the growth is sometimes an issue, but his year, it was been a major project to keep up with the damages to my bamboo.




Wednesday, January 9, 2013

WINTER BAMBOO DAMAGE

 
Despite the claims of how hardy bamboo is -- mostly true -- the plant can suffer damages in extreme winds & in the Winter ... damage from ice & snow.  Such an event resulted in damages to ALL my bamboo groves.
 
Just as forecast, on Christmas Eve, 2012, weather conditions turned ... well ... "UGLY". Rain turned to freezing rain in rapidly dropping temperatures.  In turn, wet, heavy snow soon followed, totaling at my home, almost a foot of snow on Christmas Day.  Following are a few photos of that snow fall & the beginning -- & on-going -- process of removing the destruction which occurred on my property.

 
This is the "greeting" I received Christmas morning.  Not only was there damage to my bamboo -- shown above & in other photos, being bent or broken to the ground, due to the weight of the ice & snow -- but there was major damage to many trees & "minor" damage (if there is such a thing) to almost EVERY tree.

 
Some bamboo seems unaffected, while other clums -- the proper name for the "cains" -- show the affect of the weight on them.

 
Due to the size of much of my bamboo, the oppressive amount of snow & ice causes the clums to split, shatter, and/or break.  This bamboo will have to be cut to the ground & removed.

 
Major tree limbs & branches will have to be removed from the stream where they have fallen.  More bamboo remains in the background, bent & broken.

 
The photo above is a good example of the damage to the bamboo: some clums broken & on the ground, while other sections of the grove are resisting -- but bending -- under the weight of the elements.

 
As the conditions improve -- December 27th -- some of the bamboo begins the process of trying to right itself as the snow & ice recedes.  Broken bamboo can not revive itself.


 
The bamboo grove -- seen in the first photo of this post -- begins to release itself from the confines of the ice & snow.
 
The beginning of 2013, with the departure of the snow & ice, shows the damages more clearly & helps to illustrate the "clean up' facing me over the next several months.  The broken & damaged bamboo clums will have to be cut, removed, sectioned & burned.  

 
Some bamboo has broken off at high levels & is on the ground & other sections have split & a portion hangs down, still attached to the original clum.  Everything damaged will have to be removed before the Spring growing season begins in March.
 
Not all the damages are to the bamboo.  The lifted pant leg revels where I managed a bit of cutting on myself.
Bamboo is a very attractive plant, & I still enjoy it in my landscape.  I just wish some of the Winter storms of Central Arkansas did not do so much damage, requiring the time & effort to remove the remaining destruction.
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Sunday, September 30, 2012

A MORE "EXOTIC" BAMBOO IN MY GARDEN


If you know where to look, & how to look, the average person may be surprised to find how much bamboo is growing along the roads in America.  Of course, much of the "domestic" bamboo is a smaller, nondescript variety.  Most people who are aware of the plants, also just refer to it as "cain".

Many visitors to my  home have noted the large "cain" I am growing.  Sometime. I correct them.  Sometimes not.

Growing more than a dozen different varieties of bamboo, most of my bamboo plants would never be confused with the common "cain".  My plants are taller, larger & more colorful.  I am a "collector" of bamboo.

Several of my bamboo species would be considered "rare" &/or "exotic".  One of my bamboo plantings is Phyllostachys Bambusoides 'Tanakae". [As I always try to point out, very few rare bamboo species have "common names".  Such is the case with this bamboo.]


 This bamboo is noted for it's nice lime green color, flecked with blotches of a dark purple color.

 No two "culms" -- the name used for the above ground portion of the plant -- have the same pattern.  Some culms may be heavily patterned ... some not.

 My 'Tanakae' has been in the ground about four years now & is starting to form it's own grove of this species.

This is a RARE species of bamboo -- which means EXPENSIVE -- but, is a colorful addition to my bamboo garden.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

OKAY .... SO I'M NOT EMERIL

 
Every year in August I travel to Florida to attend the NATIONAL REPTILE BREEDERS EXPO.  For the past dozen years or so, it has been held in Daytona Beach.  I always combine my trip with a visit with my Mother who lives in Florida.  Kind of a "Two-Fer" trip.
 
 
 The hotel I stay at is the Daytona Hilton - Ocean Walk. It's a very nice facility, with all the high-end amenities you might expect.  It's right on the beach, the rooms I get all have king size beds & the fitness facility is open 24 hours a day.

The buffet breakfast is great.  My stay at the Hilton is also the only time of  the year when I eat a BIG BREAKFAST, including items I "normally" do not eat; scrambled eggs/fried potatoes/HUGE biscuits ... along with sausage.  YUM !!

I very seldom eat out at restaurants or fast food places.  When I do eat out, it's usually with friends & we have Chinese or Tex-Mex food.  I like to cook at home & very seldom eat any kind of meat.  There is some chicken in my freezer, but I better check to see if there is any "freezer burn", since the packages have been in there quite a while.

Recently on FACEBOOK, I posted a picture of a large bowl of Ranch Pasta Salad I had made.  Several friends wanted the "recipe" (as if there was such a thing), so I decided to provide some details on how I make the salad & since I have not posted on my blog in some time, I thought I would provide information at both sources.

BILL'S BIG BAMBOO RANCH PASTA SALAD

 SALAD CONTENTS:  Found in several places in my home ...

 The pantry
 
Storage jars 
 
 The refrigerator
 
PREPARATION:  Ingredients found & included are: Onions [green & sweet], White Shoepeg Corn, Water Chestnuts, Bell Pepper, Black Olives & Broccoli. There are numerous varieties of Ranch Dressing, including reduced fat.  Pick one you like.  [The bottle shown is a "spicy" variety.]  Any pasta size/shape will do.  NOTE: The tomatoes in the photograph are for another meal.

 There are other items in the pantry which can be included.  It just depends on the desired outcome.


Drain & chop the items other than the corn & broccoli. The corn doesn't need it & the broccoli I like to "blanch" a bit before including it in the mix.

 COOKING: Cook the pasta per the standard directions

 Just before the pasta is ready to take off the heat, I put in the broccoli to "soften" it a bit. [I love broccoli, but I don't like the feeling I'm in the South yard, eating rough weeds & bushes.]

 I rinse off the pasta to cool it down a bit & stop the cooking process.

THE FINAL STEP:  Everything is ready to be combined in one bowl.  Salt & pepper to taste.

The finished product ... ready to be served, with plenty available for "left-overs".  [Two spoons; one for stirring;one for "sampling".]

ENJOY !!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A GARDEN TOUR

Despite weather forecasts each day for the past week or so with the "potential" for rain, it was only until this morning that my area of the state received more than a few minutes of a rain shower.  The forecasts have always had the terms "isolated" or "scattered" for potential rain. This past Monday & Tuesday, Little Rock experienced some afternoon "scattered" showers that caused city streets to flood.  Where I live ... zilch as far as rain.

So the limited amount of rain this A.M. at least cleared the air, settled some dust & made for a beautiful afternoon of walking my property & enjoying my the splendor of my land.

I am going to share some of my "foliage", all of which I have added/planted since arriving here in 1996.  PLEASE NOTE: Photos which include me serve two purposes; 1] I am used as an indicator of the size of the plant being highlighted ... and 2]  The photo can be used to send in a letter to my Mother in Florida, since she loves photos of her Little Billy.

 One of my larger bamboo groves, containing Phyllostachys vivax.  Some of these "culms" -- the name used for individual bamboo stalks -- are about 50 foot high. Also -- as I have noted in previous postings on this blog -- most bamboo's do not have common names.  I have to go with the scientific names for identification purposes.

 This is a grove of P. nigra 'henon'.  It is another LARGE growing bamboo & in older culms, in good sunlight, has a nice gray color to the culms.

 A different view of the same grove of P. nigra 'henon', as shown above.

 This bamboo is P.nigra 'bory'.  This species is noted for the molted pattern which develops on the culms.  [My plants have as not done so well, color wise.  The plants themselves grow good & strong, but their limited pattern is not worthy of a close-up photo.  I included this picture because of the white clouds & pretty blue colored sky.]

 This yellow colored bamboo actually did get part of a "common name".  This bamboo is P. viridis 'Robert Young'.  [I believe this was named after the scientist/plants man who identified/named this bamboo species.]

 This is another photo of the 'Robert Young'.  It's a large growing bamboo -- about 60 feet -- & with the yellow color & segments containing a thin vertical green line, is most impressive.  One of my favorite bamboos.

 This is the original species of black bamboo -- P. nigra -- from which the other sub-species are named.  The culms come up through the earth a bright green color in the Spring & by the end of the Summer, have changed to the color of their name.

This bamboo is called Pseudosasa japonica 'green onion'.  This plant -- which like many of my bamboo's, I bought via the Internet -- has been in the ground for about three years.  So far is has not done much in the way of growth ... either height or width.

Not all the bamboo I grow are "giants". This is Sasa palmata & has grown to it's full size in several plantings on my property. This is another of my favorites.

 
 Before I moved to Arkansas, I had a stronger interest in tropical plants.  As I have spent more & more time on landscaping, I have had less time for individual potted plants.  I have retained some Cycads -- growing in five gallon buckets -- which live in the front garden of my house & spend the Winter weather on my enclosed porch.

Finally on this "tour", one of the "Creeps" I planted along the front fence two years ago.  This Crape Mertle is developing good size & color, & along with the late Winter pruning I do to all my "Creeps" each year, is on it's way to developing into a beautiful tree.

I hope you enjoyed the "tour".

Friday, June 29, 2012

CRAPE MERTLES / "CREEP MERTLES"


Extreme weather seems to be the "normal" this year.  Currently there are distructive fires ravging the Western United States & parts of Florida are still flooded from tropical storm "Debby" which rained for several days last week.  Here in Central Arkansas, we are experiencing record temperatures -- for June, no less -- along with drought conditions through out the state. And this is just the start of Summer !!

Apparently this will be the Summer of high water bills for me from the Grand Prairie H2O District in Stuttgard, Arkansas ... my H2O provider.  Having lost (killed) plants & trees in past years due to a lack of watering on my part, I have determined this year I will water frequently & deep, to keep my landscape thriving during the heat & drought.  I have too much financially invested in the landscaping I have done through the years to let money -- well, MAJOR money H2O bills -- prevent me from watering my trees & plantings.

One of my favorite trees to plant has been the CRAPE MERTLE.  I currently have 33 planted on my property, with five more remaining in pots until weather conditions improve to put them in the ground.

As a youngster, living in Rochester, New York, I remember many times visiting Highland Park, world famous for the collection of LILACS, which through shape & color, look much like the Crape Mertles grown in the South. The major difference -- beyong the cooler growing temperatures needed by Lilacs -- is the strong, beautiful fragrance the Lilacs have & the Crape Mertles do not.  But, with our increadbly HOT Summers, I am more than satisfied with the beautiful display of colors the CREEP MERTLES provide, even minus a fragrance.

Okay.  Disclaimer time.  I did not mis-spell the name in the above sentence.  "Creep Mertles" is the name I use for these trees.  I have given "nick names" to various places & things on my property.  The large drainage ditch which floods with heavy rains, is called "MUDD CREEK".  The same rain storms bring "LAKE HILDA" -- named for my Mother -- to the front yard.  The many "Creep Mertles" are named for a dear, unrelated "sister" of mine.  Many reading this will know exactly who I mean, but probably not why they are named.

 Some of my older "Creeps", have been planted more than 15 years & have reached their maximun height of 18-25 feet.

 Along the fence, down at the road, the "Creep Trees" there have been planted for two years & are starting to have good growth & size.

 The above location -- when I take another photo in several weeks -- will be much more impressive since ALL the trees currently have buds on them & should put on an exciting color show come mid-July.

 The lush green grass in the photo above is a sure indicator this picture was taken beck in May of this year when I planted additional "Creeps" along the fence. 

Almost the same location of this shot, but the "Creep Mertles" -- while growing well -- are getting daily attention as to watering, both to get them started in the ground & to combat the EXTREME dry conditions we are under.  [That's a total of 250 feet of hose -- used to give each "Creep" a long/deep soaking, watering -- laying on the dry/partched grass.  Too bad/so sad ... I am NOT watering the grass.  This way there is less cutting with the J. Deere & savings on gasoline.]

I'll present another posting in a month or so, to give an up-dated view of the Summer color in my "CREEP MERTLES".