Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bamboo Open House is set for March 13, 2010 and other events for this spring...

Bamboo Open House in March

We hope you had an enjoyable holiday season. We are busy getting ready for Spring when the gardening season begins. We have set the date for our next Bamboo Open House. Here are the details:

What: Bamboo Open House - dozens of running and clumping bamboo plants for sale.

When: Saturday, March 13, 2010; 9 am to 3 pm

Where: 5719 Jersey Drive in Rocklin (95765) [Map]

Looking forward to seeing you there and we'll be on hand to answer any bamboo questions you may have.

Looking for that special kind of bamboo or a large quantity? Special ordering is highly recommended.

If you have a specific kind of bamboo you are looking for or you need a large quantity to create a privacy screen, putting in a special order for your bamboo is highly recommended.

We have access to well over 100 different types of running bamboo and are currently assembling an order for delivery in late February, early March.

The advantages of special ordering bamboo plants from us is:

(1) We set the plants aside for you,

(2) You get the plants you want, and at the quantity and sizes you want.

Here is how you can place a special order - send me an e-mail ( with the quantity, size (5 or 15 gallon) and varieties you want by Saturday, February 13. We ask for a 50% down with the balance payable upon pick-up. We accept checks or we can bill you via PayPal which allows you to securely pay by credit card. You do not need to be a PayPal member, its really easy.

If you need recommendations on the right bamboo plants for your garden, call or e-mail us. After a few questions, we can provide some bamboo varieties for you to consider along with pictures that will fit your needs.

We'll also be at the Sacramento Perennial Plant Club's Annual Plant Sale on March 20 in Sacramento

On Saturday, March 20, we will be at the Sacramento Perennial Plant Club's Annual Plant Sale at the Shepard Arts and Garden Center located in McKinley Park (3330 McKinley Boulevard, Sacramento). The sale is open to the public and will have a large variety of plant vendors there from bamboo to succulents to fruit trees to water plants. If you love unique plants, this is a fun event and worth attending. Hope to see you there!

Can't make the Open House?

No problem, we are also available by appointment. Call (916) 300-6335 or e-mail at to set up a time to come by and see our bamboo garden, ask questions or seek advice. If you want to see what clumping bamboo will look like in the ground after several years, you are welcome to set up a time and see for yourself. We also have several types of running bamboo growing in containers as well.

Were on Facebook. Become a Fan.

We know Facebook is not for everyone, but if you are a Facebook user and want to follow what we are doing, see new bamboo photos or check out other interesting aspects about bamboo, check out our Facebook page and become a fan.

Have a fun, prosperous and happy 2010!


Mad Man Bamboo Nursery - Rocklin, CA
(916) 300-6335

Sunday, December 27, 2009

How to turn an ugly plastic container into a something worth planting in...

I was given some plastic horse troughs by a co-worker a while back and wanted to use them to plant some running bamboo. On their own they are not appealing to the eye. Here is what I did using bamboo edging (a common item that can be ordered from the internet) to spruce them up and make them a container reborn and nice to look at. This took me about 20 minutes to assemble. Here is the step-by-step instructions. Enjoy!


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Spring season kick-off Bamboo Open House

Getting ready to send out details on our spring season kick-off Bamboo Open House. Also will have information on special ordering plants and much more...... Check back with our Facebook Page, this page or sign up for our e-mail newsletter at the Mad Man Bamboo website (black box to the right).

Stay tuned.....

Photo by Gerhard Bock (

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy belated World Bamboo Day!

Happy belated World Bamboo Day! September 18. It was declared at the 8th World Bamboo Congress in Thailand this year. The latest Bamboo Magazine said it right - "Plant a bamboo! Build with bamboo! Sing with bamboo! Wear bamboo! Eat bamboo! Breathe bamboo! Walk among the bamboo, and feel good." That's what World Bamboo Day will signify every year moving forward - a time to celebrate all the practical, environmental and social benefits of bamboo.

Photo by Bamboo (Facebook page)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Bamboo that seems to glow in the dark at dusk...

Can you say... glow in the dark? This is Phylostachys bambusoides 'Allgold'. A running bamboo that grows 35 feet max with 2 inch diameter culms. At dusk, in the summer, it almost seems to glow in the dark it such a nice bright yellow. Photo by Gerhard Bock (



Saturday, December 19, 2009

Beautiful leaves for an exceptional bamboo plant - Hibanobambusa tranquillans 'Shiroshima'

This is a favorite..... Hibanobambusa tranquillans 'Shiroshima.' A running bamboo that grows to 16 feet max with 1.3 inch diameter culms. As you can see the leaves are really beautiful (if you look close enough to the photo, the new leaves have hints of burgundy red in them). The culms turn a dark burgundy color as well.

Photo is by Gerhard Bock (

Friday, December 18, 2009

Place to go someday..... bamboo forrest in Arashiyama, Kyoto, Japan

This is one of the places I have on my list to visit...... Arashiyama on the outskirts of the old capital of Japan, Kyoto. Specifically I want to visit the large Phylostachys edulis 'Moso' bamboo forrest. Here is what I found on on the area: Bamboo groves are found behind Tenryuji Temple and along the trail to the Okochi Sanso. The bamboo is still used to manufacture various products, such as baskets, cups, boxes, mats and pieces of art at workshops in the Arashiyama area. Attached is a video on YouTube I found. This is a place I dream of going to someday....

Monday, December 14, 2009

Many types of black bamboo....

This is Phylostachys nigra punctata 'Giant Black'. Gets to 60 feet tall with 4 inch culms. There is another variety called 'Daikokuchiku' that comes from a grove in Folsom that is about 57 feet tall, fairly rare and hard to get. To give some perspective, regular black grows to about 30 feet tall max with 2 inch culms. There is a smaller version that I am hoping to get as a trade here soon that was referrred to as "Baby Black Bamboo" formal name is Phylostachys nigra 'Hale'. 20 feet max. These are all running bamboo, but they perform really well in containers, like large pots or horse troughs.



Saturday, December 12, 2009

From ugly horse trough to bamboo container with style....

I was given some plastic horse feeding trough's by a co-worker a while back. I am wanting to screen my back wall with some of the large running bamboo I have growing in containers. So, I ordered some bamboo edging and attached it to the sides of the plastic horse troughs with copper wire. I'm pretty happy with the result. The one pictured is going to be home for a really nice Giant Black Bamboo that I have that is jet black and probably 25 feet tall. It will probably get up to 40 once it gets established in the container.



Friday, December 11, 2009

Hard freeze, what hard freeze?

Finally had a chance today to go outside while it was still light out. Lifted the frost blanket I had on the Mexican Weeping Bamboo and the Bambusa Oldhamii "Giant Clumping Timber Bamboo," and no damage, woo hooo! All my other bamboo in the ground looks unfazed by the weather. Hard freeze, what hard freeze? Did pretty good. I'm a happy man!



Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Bamboo in a playground

Bamboo plants I donated to the City of Roseville for a jungle themed playground (Mel Hamel Park) in north Roseville. It is Bambusa multiplex "Golden Goddess" and its hedged low. Uncut it grows to about 10 to 12 feet tall, full sun and is a clumping bamboo. "Golden Goddess" refers to the culms that turn a golden yellow as it ages. Finally got around to visiting the park to see how it was planted. Definitely works for the theme.



Sunday, December 6, 2009

Bamboo forest

By invitation, I visited a 50 year old grove of Japanese Giant Timber Bamboo at a private residence in Citrus Heights, CA this past weekend. Wow, what a site! Phylostachys bambusoides 'Japanese Giant Timber Bamboo' gets up to 72 feet tall and can get 6 inch culms.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

That's thinking outside the box when it comes to commercial landscaping

Driven by the Panda Express on Rocky Ridge Road in Roseville, CA many times and never noticed that they have bamboo planted in front of the establishment. It was hedged and looked nice. Upon a closer look, they planted what appeared to be Phylostachys aurea, which is pretty common and something a little less common, Phylostachys aureosulcata 'Spectabilis; which gets really nice vivid red coloring when its cold and exposed to sunlight. Good to see bamboo used in commercial landscaping. That's thinking outside the box!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Like blue bamboo? Try Yushania boliana...

This is Yushania boliana, a clumping bamboo that grows to 24 feet max with 2 inch culms and has a really nice blue coloring. According the the American Bamboo Society 2009 Source List, this comes from Sichuan, China via the Fuji Bamboo Garden in Japan. From my understanding this is one of the varieties that has ties to bamboo pioneer, Gerald Bol. Yushania boliana needs afternoon shade in the Sacramento area. We have one of these in stock right now and more coming in the Spring.


Mad Man Bamboo Nursery - Rocklin, CA

Phone: (916) 300-6335
Facebook Page for Mad Man Bamboo Nursery

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Dell Computer uses bamboo in packaging

I thought this was pretty cool. Dell Computer is using crushed bamboo to make protective cushions for its computers to protect them from damage instead of using foam or paper-based protective cushions. Best of all they are harvesting the bamboo from managed forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) which has a pretty rigorous certification program that promotes sustainable forest management and harvesting.

More about this - Dell Makes New Green Move with Bamboo Packaging



Sunday, November 15, 2009

When is the next Open House?

Thanks to all the really nice people that came to my two Bamboo Open Houses on October 31 and November 14. Met lots of people that appreciate bamboo and had a good time teaching more about bamboo and all its benefits in the garden.

The big question I have been getting is - When is the next Open House?

Answer: I am planning the next Open House in March 2010 to kick off the spring season. If you want to be notified when the date is set, I highly recommend signing up for our e-mail list, the black box to the right of my web page -

In the meantime, I go back to how I was selling bamboo before, by appointment. So, if you really want that special bamboo plant now, give me a call at (916) 300-6335 or e-mail me at I am available by appointment Saturdays and Sunday and every other Friday (next Friday off is 11/20).

Thanks again for all the support, looking forward to more encounters with all the fellow bamboo aficionados.



Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sacramento Bee article and the next open house...

Wow. I'm humbled by the the folks that came to my Halloween Bamboo Open House and expressed their appreciation for bamboo. Sacramento Bee reporter, Debbie Arrington spent some time with us touring the yard along with photographer Lezlie Sterling a couple of weeks ago. Christy and I had a great time and we couldn't be happier with the article.

Sacramento Bee article on bamboo

For those that missed today's Open House, we are planning another one in November. I will have many more plants, popular, practical and unique, available for sale. If you want to know when the next Open House is, check this site in the next week or two. If you want that special bamboo plant and want to put a special order in, sign up for e-mail subscription list at (look at the black box on the right) and you'll know how to get that bamboo plant you have been looking for.

Thanks for the great day. It was really nice getting to talk to so many people that appreciate bamboo.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Red bamboo......

Received a question from a Facebook Fan on my Mad Man Bamboo Nursery facebook page. Question was whether I have run across bamboo with red leaves.

The answer..... no, not full red, sometimes you'll get slight hints of red, like new keaves on Hibanobambusa tranquillans 'Shiroshima.'

But there are bamboo plants that get vibrant red culms when exposed to bright sunlight and/or cold.

Phylostachys aurea 'Spectabalis', Phylostachys bambusoides 'Castillon', Himalayacalamus falconeri damarapi 'Candystripe Bamboo' and Semiarundaria yashadake 'Kimmei' are varieties that show this trait. There are other examples as well.

Pictured top to bottom are Himalayacalamus falconeri damarapi 'Candystripe Bamboo', Phylostacys bambusoides 'Castillon' and Semiarundaria yashadake 'Kimmei.'



Monday, September 28, 2009

Leaping rhizomes!

This is why you leave 1 -2 inches above ground when you install a bamboo rhizome barrier. Pictured is a rhizome from Phylostachys nigra "Megurochiku" coming up for air and diving right back into the ground. A 30 inch plastic barrier with 1 to 2 inches above ground is an effective way to contain a running bamboo in its intended planting area.

Although I do love running bamboo, clumping bamboo is nice because it is non-invasive and does not require containment with rhizome barrier. For me, running bamboo belongs in a pot.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Mad Man Bamboo Nursery on Facebook; bamboo rhizome barrier.

Facebook plunge

It's funny, I don't find Facebook very user friendly and sometimes I wonder the purpose of it when you get alot of meaningless chatter. But I do see its real power, connecting people together.

I'm a bit "old school" - I like e-mail, I don't get text messaging and twitter, not so sure. I'm like a weird Luddite mixed with amateur technology adopter - if its easy to use, I'll try it, if its too complex, nevermind.

Anyways, today I took a step into the 21st century and set up a Facebook account for my bamboo business - Mad Man Bamboo.

If you'd like to see what I am up to, look to your right, click "Become a Fan", sign up if your new to Facebook or if your already registered with Facebook - you'll become a "fan." I'll be posting updates from time-to-time and hope to have it serve as a place to answer questions regarding my favorite plant - bamboo.

Bamboo rhizome barrier

Another new thing I have added to our offerings is - bamboo rhizome barrier. We carry both 24 inch and 30 inch. More on this by clicking here - bamboo rhizome barrier.



Monday, September 7, 2009

Interesting question from a reader: Larger the diameter for bamboo, the stronger it is? True or false?

Received an interesting e-mail from Javier, a reader of this blog that posted the following question:

"Hi Sean,

Is it safe to say that the larger the diameter the bamboo is, the stronger it is? If not, please shed some light on this.

Many thanks,


Great question and the answer is "no." It really depends on the fiber and lignen (the white binding material between the fibers) and how tightly packed they are. So, bamboo with larger air chambers (like Phylostachys heteroclada "Water Bamboo") in them or ones that are not as densely packed, even if they are large in diameter, are not necessarily the strongest.

But more impressive is the fact that bamboo, in its very strongest form is like reinforced concrete and is, in some cases, stronger than steel. Steel has a tensile strength of 23,000, while the strongest bamboo has a tensile strength of 28,000.

It also used 1/8th the energy in production that concrete does, pretty impressive.

For more interesting facts on bamboo, its strength and its possibilities for solid, environmentally friendly buildings of the future, check out the article from Discover Magazine, ironically enough, from 1996 - The Bamboo Solution.



Friday, August 21, 2009

Ted Jordan Meredith's Pocket Guide to Bamboo Plants is out, yeah!

I got a tip from a good friend in the bamboo nursery business a couple of months ago about Ted Jordan Meredith's Pocket Guide to Bamboos with is published by Timber Press. Its a pocket guide with over 300 species of bamboo in it, word is that it is full of color photos that look at all aspects of the plant, from culm colors to leaves to shoot coloration. With bamboo plants the differences are often very subtle, for those who love bamboo this holds to be a very helpful guide in discerning one bamboo species from another.

I am planning on purchasing a few copies to sell at plant sales I attend, for customers that visit my nursery and online.
If all the talk is true, this has promise to be a very valuable guide from a very credible bamboo expert that will be used for all that love bamboo, from the beginner bamboo lover to the most seasoned bambusero.



Tuesday, August 18, 2009

History and plants: The story behind "Alphonse Karr" bamboo

Its funny to think about how plants are named an who named them. I'm always amazed by a clumping bamboo, Bambusa multiplex "Alphonse Karr", a rather common bamboo that you can find at most nurseries. But in this case "Alphonse Karr" happens to be a rather spectacular plant - it grows really well in the Sacramento region, is perfect for an upright privacy screen and has beautiful ornamental features. Yellow, with green stripes and shades of vibrant red, this plant is more than common, its almost like looking at art, very striking.

I appreciate history and was quite happy to find the background on the name behind this spectacular bamboo plant in the December 2008 edition of Bamboo Magazine. Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, a 19th Century French writer, satirist and newspaper man, born in 1808 found a love for plants when he moved to Nice, France in 1855. Known in the literary world for writing 12 novels and sering as the editor of the French weekly satirical, Le Figaro.

He later became known for his founding of the cut flower trade along the French Riviera and no one quite knows the tie to the famous bamboo, but either someone ion the 19th Century plant world named it after him for his love of plants (or a fan of his writings) or perhaps observed traits of a bamboo plant owned by Mr. Karr.

Something not given much thought usually, but fascinating nonetheless. Every plant has a story.



Saturday, August 8, 2009

Bamboo and Tabasco sauce

Being a member of the American Bamboo Society, I get a copy of Bamboo Magazine, which I really enjoy. The June 2009 edition had an article on Avery Island, Louisiana, the home of E.A. McIlhenny's world famous Tabasco sauce. On the island is Jungle Gardens a 250 acre preserve that features exotic plants including large bamboo groves, one is a Moso grove planted by McIlhenny himself in 1910. If you have never seen Phylostachys edulis "Moso", it maxes out at 75 feet tall with 7 inch diameter culms, one of the largest in the world. And, the culms have a light fur on them, really nice texture.

I'll have to put Avery Island on my "must-visit" list for sure.

More info can be found here.



Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Attention Sacramento "Green Thumbs"........... a plant sale for you.

If you live in the Sacramento area, check out this plant sale where Mad Man Bamboo will be at (yes, a shameless plug) and The Golden Gecko Nursery (owned and operated by fellow garden blogger, Trey Pitensberger). Here is the excerpt from the Sacramento Perennial Plant Club's Newsletter:

"Sacramento Perennial Plant Club
9th Annual Vendor Sale
Unusual Plants and Garden Treasures
March 21, 2009, Saturday, 9:00AM to 3:00PM
Shepherd Garden and Arts Center at McKinley Park
Speaker: 12:00 noon

The March meeting will be replaced with this special event. Amber Tippett from Peaceful Valley Farm and Garden Supply in Grass Valley will be the featured speaker (at noon) about “Growing Organic…For Life.”

Some of the nurseries participating in the sale have web sites; go online and see the variety of plants that will be available. This is a great opportunity for you to visit many wonderful specialty nurseries in one location and not have to spend your money on gas.

In this time of financial hardship, it is important that we support these small businesses. They are the people who are propagating and selling the rich variety of plants that we have come to love and can not find at the big box stores. Without the small independent nurseries, the look of our gardens will change forever. Many of the plants sell for $5.00 - $10.00 so come support the nurseries and buy one or two special plants to add to your spring planting. Tell your neighbors and friends about the sale, and we hope to see you there.

On this date a grand selection of both new and favorite vendors will arrive with their specialties from the outlaying areas to provide a wonderful collection of plants and gardenrelated art. To name just a few Vendors and what they will be bringing: Back again--Morningsun Herb Farm, Vacaville, herbs galore; Golden Pond, Loomis, aquatic plants & miniature water gardens; Canyon Creek Nursery, Oroville, shrubs, perennials and annuals; Native Springs Nursery, Oroville, Mediterranean and California native plant; Glen Rowley from Magalia and his original handmade birdhouses; Monte Cristo Farm, Placerville, Azaleas and Rhododendrons; Golden Gecko Nursery, Garden Valley and Bob Tadlock, Garden Valley,with shrubs and perennials; Mad Man Bamboo, Rocklin, and Friends of San Juan de Oreinte, Sacramento, pottery.

First time Vendors that you won’t want to miss Twisted Metal, Sacramento, The Secret Garden, Elk Grove, Peaceful Valley Farm and Garden Supply, Grass Valley, plants and gardensupplies; Kevin Henry, Vermidragon Farm, worm castings; Merlyn Lenear, Stockton,The OG, succulents and succulent wreaths.

Most of the Vendors are donating something special for our Raffle. Last year, both Golden Pond and Morningsun Herb Farm created wonderful large pots of outstanding plants.There were many other terrific items as well. The raffle will be held at 10 AM, 11 AM and 1:30 PM. Participants must be present to win. The proceeds from this event help to fundour work supporting community gardens and local horticulture projects.

Bring your garden related questions to the Master Gardeners’ table. They will be there to help you with a plant, soil or bug related problem.

Our perennial plant club will be selling used garden related books and magazines. If you have any to donate please bring them either to the Center on Friday, late-afternoon, or earlySaturday morning, the day of the sale. We also need you look in your garden for what is blooming and bring in a sample (just one bloom or branch) of the plant and label it. We willhave a display table.

For those of you unable to volunteer your time for club events, there is a very important way that you could still help out the club and yourself: Drop by and support the event! It isfun and informative, and provides a chance to buy plants that are unusual, extra healthy and the grower is present to answer your questions. This is an important contribution that youwill be making!"

See you there my fellow "green thumbs."


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Trip to the Golden Gecko Nursery

Had a great weekend. Made a visit to Trey (the Blogging Nurseryman, owner of the Golden Gecko Nursery) in Garden Valley, CA. Bought some really nice half wine barrels and some vegetable starters - "Bright Light" Swiss Chard, potato starts, chives, spinach, sugar snap peas seeds, saucer squash and brussel sprout starts. My daughter helped my wife pick the vegetables while Trey and I chatted.

Trey showed me the creek behind his nursery (amazed how the latest storms made a big impact) and told me about the German photographer who made a trip to Trey's neck of the woods to photograph ladybug sanctuaries. Trey has some really cool photos on his blog of the ladybugs he saw. Really amazing.

Got home and my daughter and I drilled holes in the wine barrels, planted the brussel sprouts and chard in one barrel, cut the potato starts in two to get ready for planting this weekend and have the other two barrels ready for planting this weekend.

Once we get the other two barrels planted, I will be getting a horse trough ready (formerly filled with Black Bamboo) for planting tomatoes and basil. Also, the blueberries are doing well in the other wine barrel we bought from Trey a couple of months ago. They will be ready for picking, mid-summer.

Good times.... temperatures are heading into the 70's this weekend, looking forward to getting out in the garden.

Here's to a bountiful spring,


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Blogger in hiding and blueberries

Yes I do live (thanks Katie)!

I'm around. Just really busy.... work.... life.... you know how it goes.

So, a little spark of Spring came alive this weekend.

It has been unseasonably warm in California. Its nice and all, but quite frankly, I'm afraid of what is ahead with respect to water supply. California is in a water crisis, approaching the dire drought levels of the 1970's. The last time we were here.... leisure suits were the hit and disco was the rage. The "D" word, yikes!

A little bliss for me this weekend was to travel to Trey's (yes, the blogging nurseryman from Golden Gecko) nursery in Garden Valley and purchase two varieties of Southern High Bush Blueberry bushes and a really nice wine barrel. Not only were the bushes nice, but Trey is a really nice guy. After they (Trey and his wife, Monica) helped us load the items in our car, we chatted for awhile about the economy, the nursery industry and the crazy days we live in. After that, we had lunch at Rosey's, a roadside family-owned cafe in Garden Valley, upon suggestion of Trey.

Excited to get back home, I planted the bushes without haste. Now, its a waiting game. Fresh, home-grown blueberries in late Spring through mid-Summer. I can hardly wait.

Cheers everyone!