Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Bamboo Grove

There is a bed area in the backyard that James Conner designed and implemented. His original design was for a two-level planting around the edges, with Nandina and another plant around the existing small oak trees and a couple of mountain juniper trees. He did this in December to January 1990, and over time, it became quite overground. Linda calls it "the jungle".

There is a small triangular area behind the jungle, bounded by the jungle in the front and the fence in the back, that then becomes pretty unused. You really can't see it from most of the rest of the yard, or from the house. There was one old mountain juniper tree in that area, but nothing much else.

So I planted bamboo in that area.

Initially, the bamboo was planted in August 1997. One plant marked as Phyllostachys Aurea (golden bamboo). There are a number of descriptions of it on the web. It likes full sun, and is hardy to 0 degrees F. It seems very happy in this corner of the yard. It took years before it started to spread, but has since become "aggressive".

To contain it, I have been digging around it. The French drain terminus forms one wall to stop it from advancing into the yard. I cut down the mountain juniper and in late summer 2008, dug up the stump and the area around it. This produced several barrels of bamboo roots which I separated from the dirt and recycled. The ground in this area is only 6 to 12 inches deep before we hit bedrock. So it can't go very deep. I poured a cement wall down to bedrock, with white limestone rocks on top at ground level to keep it from expanding to the yard in the other direction.

So the bamboo has only three directions to go -- under the "jungle" bed, or under the fence. Current plans are to extend the cement wall under the rocks that encircle the jungle bed. At this point, I have dug a trench down to bedrock along the jungle bed edge. The trench is about 18 inches wide, and should allow me to work on replacing the edge of the jungle bed.

22 March 2009

Continued work. I used the jackhammer to break up the stone wall around the "jungle" in the back, next to the bamboo grove. I used the chisel point to go down between the stones, in the mortar, so that I can re-use the stones. Then I switched to the big flat blade to go vertically down thru the rock and dirt to bedrock. This gives me a very clean vertical surface from bedrock up to the ground floor of the "jungle". My intention is then to put a concrete wall in to hold the vertical surface while also providing a clean strong separation between the "jungle" and the bamboo grove. I have a little more clean-up to do -- separating out the rock from the dirt and getting a good clean bedrock surface -- before I can pour the concrete.