‘The four gentlemen’, that is what they are called in the Chinese culture, the bamboo, orchid, plum blossom and chrysanthemum. Each one represents ideal qualities that should be present in a gentleman! The bamboo embodies the qualities of uprightness, simple elegance, and integrity, another quality that should be added to this list is versatility. Very few plants find as many uses, in as many different ways to us human beings as the bamboo.
Bamboo used as a barrier and for a water feature
Although bamboo is used the world over, nowhere does it find as many uses as in south and east Asia. Here it is used as a basic raw material in the construction of houses, as a key ingredient in many mouth watering dishes, for the manufacture of textiles and paper and even to create some beautiful musical instruments!
One of the reasons the bamboo is used so extensively is that it is one of the fastest growing plants and an easily renewable resource for the world. Growth rates of bamboos in the right conditions are as high as 98 inches in 24 hours! Use this phenomenal growth rate to your advantage in your garden when you want to create a cheap, natural barrier between areas for privacy or delineation. With its fast growth rate and evergreen foliage, the bamboo is a perfect choice.
Decorative bamboo fence used for defining parts of the garden
Bamboo’s tensile strength and flexibility allows creation of many a decorative and useful element for the garden as well. Bamboo arches are the perfect outdoor structure to trail beautiful flowering creepers and create a welcoming entryway to your outdoor space. A pergola made out of bamboo would be a sturdy and elegant way to fashion a shaded alcove to enjoy the outdoors.
Bamboo trellises can be used to provide an island of privacy
In our crowded urban cities today, where land is at a premium, outdoor spaces like balconies and terraces are sometimes very close to our neighbors, bamboo trellises are a great way to create an island of privacy. Depending on the budget, a bamboo trellis can be an elaborate design or a simple diamond shaped lattice structure. Once set up, it can be used as the support structure for many plants thus creating an area of dappled sunlight where you could spend your evenings relaxing outdoors.
An uneven bamboo fence in an outdoor area
One of the best ways to transform a balcony from a cement and concrete structure to your own green space is to set up a bamboo fence right along the walls of the balcony. Suddenly the view from your living room is green and vibrant! The fence could be made either of full bamboo to achieve a well rounded, graceful look or halved bamboo for a more rustic appearance. If symmetry is not particularly important, add a touch of frivolity by varying the height of the bamboo fence in an uneven manner!
Bamboo used as pots with an L-bracket
A simple, un-embellished bamboo is one of the most beautiful pots that nature has created for us to use. The hollow between the notches is a perfect place for some planting medium in which we can plant a nice synogonium or a springeri. Use jute ropes or pair these up with elegant wrought iron L brackets to hang these and add instant character to any space.
Fun fact: The ‘lucky bamboo’ is not a bamboo at all! It is an entirely unrelated plant from the lily family called Dracaena sanderiana!