Monthly Archives: February 2012
This week I really fancied a day off and as the forecast for Friday was quite good I decided that I would pay a visit to PW Plants in Norfolk. For those of you not in the know PW are one of the top bamboo nurseries in the country run by Paul Whittaker and his wife Diana. Some of you might have met them at a show as they have quite an impressive track record which includes a Lawrence Medal and a Tudor Rose award and a multitude of gold and silver gilt medals from major RHS shows including Chelsea. As you might expect this is a nursery well worth the visit and if you really want to learn about bamboo then a visit to one of their bamboo nutters days is highly recommended. Most of my bamboo knowledge has been gleaned from Paul who has written two books on the subject.
Friday dawned and I eagerly jumped into the car and much to my dismay it would not start! There was no answer to it but to take our box van which was probably as well as I had ordered a large bamboo. First a trip was required to the petrol station to fill up with diesel and when I got there I found my way was blocked by a small car whose occupant was waiting for a vacant left side pump and effectively preventing access to any other pumps! I began at this point to wonder if I was meant to have a day off. Eventually I got on the road and apart from roadworks with a convoy system and four tractors had a pretty uneventful journey.
Whenever I visit Pauls my first port of call is his retail area to see what goodies he has to offer. I had already picked out a selection of bamboos fro his website and these were waiting in clump in his polytunnel it was not long before I had added to them!
It was a cold but sunny day and it provided an ideal opportunity to wander round the garden with its amazing collection of mature bamboo and take photographs.
This amazing bamboo goes from strength to strength in Pauls garden and is usually the first bamboo I visit. It is a variety from Chile and is commonly called the giant foxtail bamboo. It is quite a unique bamboo in the fact that the culms are solid unlike most other bamboo which is hollow. A consequence of having solid heavy culms means this bamboo is quite deep rooted so that it can support these culms.
Because of its deep rooted habit it is not easy to propagate by digging a section of rhizome up so tends to be done by splitting juvenile plants in pots. A result of this means that it is not very often seen for sale so if you are tempted by it and you see one for sale do not delay buying it as it may not be available for long. Be warned however it is a big bamboo and has the potential to grow up to 40 foot in height. It is a clumper rather than a runner but even so needs plenty of room.
Another choice large bamboo in the garden is Phyllostachys Iridescens which also known as Red sheath bamboo. The new culms emerge with a lovely bluey colour.
This bamboo has produced 40 foot culms in Pauls garden and if you read the description on his website apparently it can start producing big culms quite quickly. Another bamboo producing large culms in the garden is Phyllostachys bambusoides ‘Castillonis Inversa’ which has beautiful yellow sulci running up the culms.
This is not a garden entirely composed of bamboo Paul is a plantsman and there are quite a few plant gems dotted about in amongst the bamboo. I am not a big rose fan but I came across this rose in his garden a few years ago and was hooked as soon as I saw it although not literally.
Other plants of merit are Cornus contraversa variegata and alternifolia, Trachycarpus wageriensis, Fatsia poycarpa and a beautifully barked Acer pensylvanicum.
After having lunch being a confirmed plantaholic I had to go back into the sales area and inevitably the pile of plants increased. With a considerably lighter wallet I left Pauls feeling pleased with my purchases and what I hoped were good photographs in my camera. A final photo to leave you with is this Phyllostachys bambusoides ‘Marliacea’
All my purchases from this day are already planted in the new garden which must be a record for me!