There is nothing quite like see a native plant growing in its rightful place. Over in Japan, bamboo is a weed that can be found growing as ground cover in woodlands like this:

And yet it is cultivated in gardens to grow to a glorious size – a proper bamboo forest:



Until now, I never found bamboo especially attractive. Those bamboo canes sold in garden centres really do the plant a disservice. Apparently over 2000 products are made from bamboo in Japan alone. It was used all over the place especially for fencing, gates and screening. I loved the example below with cord used to tie the bamboo together:

With children, there were lots of uses. The bamboo made the biggest bread twists (dampers) I have ever seen….

Bamboo guttering is becoming increasingly popular in the UK as a natural alternative to plastic guttering. However look how the example below has been constructed.. using bamboo sticks as support  – now l like that for an idea!

At the International Skogsmulle Symposium, one afternoon was spent undertaking practical workshops and one was on making stuff from green bamboo! Yay. Check out the saws we had to use…

Keisuke led the workshop and showed us some of the things we could make such as a simple pair of stilts (forget the syrup cans)…

Bamboo brooms… handy for sweeping up leaves…

Or how about a mug for a nice hot drink..

This is not a pea shooter but a way of channelling air to keep a fire going…

It’s possible to make small world toys such as this snail…

Or how about a ninja octopus?…

Try weaving a placemat…

Or creating a trio of vases…

As well as the traditional bamboo chimes, simple xylophones can be created from large off cuts…

The bamboo was tough to cut but because the inner is hollow, less effort is needed than with a lot of wood.

In the photo above and below, this is a planter being made.

All-in-all it was lovely to see the wild and tamed bamboo and get a chance to work with it. I wonder how long it takes to grow bamboo in Scotland. There is Scottish Bamboo, based just up the road from where I live so schools can buy and grow this amazing plant, should they wish to do so. There’s lots of information about different varieties and advice about what to grow where. For an ever-increasing range of educational bamboo products, order a Cosy catalogue. Meanwhile I’m much aware of what a beautiful, versatile plant this is.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Clive January 25, 2013 at 20:53

How about this for a serious and beautiful use of bamboo: The Green School, Bali: http://blog.ted.com/2011/05/31/a-day-at-the-green-school-in-bali/
Pretty stunning and eco-friendly!

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Juliet Robertson January 25, 2013 at 22:13

Clive – What a brilliant school! Thanks so much for sharing this link!

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