Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Eeek! NBC gets it wrong.... Lucky Bamboo is not bamboo!

NBC Nightly News did a "green" report on bamboo and how it is becoming the new source for fabric and flooring tonight. Glad to see my favorite plant getting some favorable press, but alas, NBC perpetuates a grand misperception..... lucky bamboo is not bamboo!

While interviewing a clothes designer, the designer explains that his bamboo fabric line is made from bamboo and EEK, he's pointing to Lucky Bamboo!

Don't scream at the TV much, but it even had my wife screaming.

Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana), as defined by the American Bamboo Society, is a native of Cameroon, in west Africa and is a understory rainforest plant - "The first thing to say is that small green stems in small vases filled with some rocks and a little water sold as Lucky Bamboo across the U. S. are not bamboo at all. They are not even a grass..."

Too bad the reporter didn't do a bit more research, Lucky Bamboo is cool and all, but has nothing on the real deal.....


Monday, January 28, 2008

Bamboo trek: Spring is almost here!

For me, the beginning of spring is signified by my first trip to my wholesaler to get ready for those "green thumbs" and bamboo collectors looking to add more bamboo to the garden. Since clumping bamboo (the mild non-invasive cousin of the running bamboo) is fairly easy to get, the options abound for really any type of landscape idea or need.
This will also help me prepare for my (aka Mad Man Bamboo's) first plant sale of the season at the Shepard Arts and Garden Center at Sacramento's McKinley Park on March 22, by supplementing the stock I grow on site with other varieties not available to me. The sale is put on by the Sacramento Perennial Plant Club and the table rent proceeds and auction help support their good organization.

The date for my bamboo trek is set for a couple of weeks from now and am using my handy-dandy American Bamboo Society Species/Source list (my weathered 2006 list pictured) a must for any "bamboo geek" like myself, to gather my wish list.

For me, this is like a kid in a candy store, and I am sure to come back with more varieties for my customers and a couple here and there for my personal collection.

More posts to come.....

After pretty much shutting down for the winter, this bamboo trek means the season is officially on for me. Spring can't come soon enough, I'm sure you fellow "green thumbs" are with me on that!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bamboo homes from Hawaii

Ran across this site - Bamboo Living Homes by Bamboo Technologies. Real bamboo homes made by a company out of Haiku, Hawaii. It's a very interesting alternative to the bland vanilla stucco production homes that you see here in many parts of California (and most of the nation).

Looks like they harvest the bamboo in Vietnam using a clumping variety, bambusa stenostachya, or "tre gai".

The site covers all aspect of bamboo harvesting in Vietnam, fabrication, shipping and assembly at the home site. Interesting concept and from the website, the homes have some real architectural interest and nice finish work. You can take a virtual tour of the company's model home in Kaui.

Now if I had some spare cash lying around and a lot in the country.... hmmm... OK time to stop dreaming.



Thursday, January 3, 2008

"Mad" over bamboo

Growing bamboo for me is fun, I appreciate the beauty of the plant and selling it gives me the opportunity to interact with a variety of people, those that appreciate plants and gardening more than most. My business is unlike any other, I grow bamboo, part-time and sell by appointment and at local plant sales. No store front, low overhead and on my own terms.

My business is small and low key, makes enough money to support my bamboo collecting habit, but not so intensive that it infringes on my personal life.

Many of the people that visit ask how I got into plants and bamboo. I attribute it to my mother-in-law who really introduced me to gardening, morphed into tinkering and growing Japanese Maples. Japanese Maples are beautiful, but for a lazy gardener like myself, they required alot of attention and time and not much profit when all was said and done.

Bamboo is easy to grow and I appreciate the challenge of overcoming the mis-information on bamboo (that all bamboo is invasive). The perfect plant for the laziest of gardeners. The colors, shapes and leaves offer a big payoff for relatively little effort.

I also have found strength in my business is through carrying bamboo varieties that cannot be found in this area and operating within a niche that can coexist among the big boys like Home Depot, Lowes.

I also figure that my low key business model is a nice slow intro to the nursery industry. Once I can financially pull it off to buy some land, maybe I'll open a storefront nursery in the country.

Finally, through my website - I'm amazed by the extent by which people are interested in bamboo, getting web hits form all over Europe, east Asia, South Africa and all over the U.S.

So, what up with the name - Mad Man Bamboo? The name came from my wife who says I'm "mad" about bamboo. That's in crazy through obsession. But its a good obsession that keeps me happy, so its all good in my book.


Mad Man Bamboo