We designed and created this small urban garden five years ago in the outskirts of Bristol. We planted clump forming Black Bamboo, Phyllostachys nigra at the back of this border with a trellis behind it to screen off a tarmac driveway behind.
Although we planted the bamboo in plastic pots into the soil, the roots of the bamboo had begun creeping over the top of the pots and across the border. Some maintenance was needed to get the bamboo under control so that it didn’t cause a worse problem by getting through the pointing in the paved pathway.
The morning that we started this work was dry, though the going was tough using mattocks and spades to dig out the three bamboo plants. Some of the roots were over a metre long. Evergreen clump forming Black Bamboo is a good choice in garden design as it is not as vigorous as some of the more spreading varieties of bamboo. Its arching canes becoming black with age are elegant and always look beautiful swaying in the breeze.
Once we had the pots out of the ground we trimmed back the suckering runners and left them in the pot-bound pots. As this is a small garden the customer didn’t want them to become too large, so this is a good way of controlling them. Being England of course the rain then decided to descend on us, with the process becoming very muddy due to the thick clay soil of north Bristol. But we were undeterred and soldiered on to get the job done!
You could use corrugated plastic or metal to create a barrier around the roots when planting bamboo but we decided to recycle some strong plastic dumpy bags. We tied them around the pots and then sunk them back into the ground.
We back filled the trench that we had created and replanted small shrubs that we had removed to do the work on the bamboo. Then a thorough wash down was needed to clean the pathway. Our customer was very happy with the outcome and is planning on laying down a thick mulch of landscaping bark to top dress the border. We suggested that this would be a good idea as it will help the clay soil with the incorporation of organic matter, will suppress the weeds and will retain moisture in the soil, as well as looking more pleasing to the eye.
Maintenance such as this is a good idea in gardening to keep plants that could become unruly or thuggish from getting out of control. We are really pleased that our customer is so happy, and we particularly loved watching tiny frogs hopping about whilst we worked. Enjoy the magic in your garden!