Friday, October 24, 2008

Ginger binge & the big bamboo

I have made veiled (& not so veiled) references to "edible ornamentals". The first of these I ever grew was ginger & it is not a pretty story, but here it is: Once upon a time a good sized root of ginger, purchased at the grocery store fell behind the crisper drawer in our fridge. A long time later, I mean a really long time later, I noticed a funny green shadow & pulled the drawer all the way out & there, in the deep dark cool of the fridge I had grown a healthy crop of ginger.

I have an undeserved reputation for having a green thumb & it is stories like this one that feed it. The reality is, I throw a little bit of everything all around & what takes, takes over. When planting new things (as opposed to relocating volunteers) I do try for plants-that-will-not-kill-a-mammal. As a general reference I use this book, but recently picked up a few more at the Friends of the Library Book Sale.

Besides ginger (& we have a lot of ginger: blue ginger, pine cone ginger, butterfly ginger, peacock ginger), I have also planted some bamboo. I put in Arrow about not-quite three years ago & it seems to be following the pattern I was told: the first year it sleeps, the second it creeps & the third it leaps.

When I first ordered the bamboo, bamboo-loving friends of mine warned me about the invasiveness of arrow bamboo. The director of the local botanical garden tried to talk me out of it until I assured him I understood just how invasive it was. I felt comfortable, though because my local expert told me it was an excellent winter fodder for horses & he was right. It is also a favorite for emus, although he probably did not know that at that time. & he agreed it would be a good food source for when I got my elephant. C**** has known for years that I have been wanting an elephant.

This year I am thinking of expanding my bamboo collection. Something to screen us from our ever-encroaching neighbors perhaps. Or something really big & weird. I am leaning towards Alphonse Karr because I like the stripey-ness but I still have not made up my mind.

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