Saturday, September 3, 2011

Grosse Pointe Bamboo

Since retirement we have returned to nature, in a way. In extent it amounts to nothing at all, just a narrow little backyard, but you would be surprised what happens here after the morning traffic drains the Grosse Pointes of people. A silence of sorts descends. Being out in it we discover it swarming with bees, ants, squirrels, birds, and butterflies. And we can venture out into the wider neighborhood which is, if not officially then at least territorially, still part of The City of Trees, a one-time nickname for Detroit. Our yard and garden are semi-wild—not least the cultivated parts. Here, for instance the area occupied by just two tomato plants.

A relative newcomer to our postage-stamp-sized piece of nature is a cluster of Japanese Knotweed, Fallopia japonica. How long ago? Don’t know. Three, four years ago? This plant is very bamboo like but is only a distant relative. But ordinary people are not all that discerning, hence it is also known as American Bamboo and Mexican Bamboo. It is viewed as invasive—and we can testify to its energetic spread. But we keep our knotweed in its own limited domain. Here some pictures of our Fallopia; it is currently in bloom:

It looks like a bush, but it is a family of free-standing stalks.

The bamboo-like character of the stems is visible here. Some of the stalks are left over from last year.

The leafage, now in bloom.

And closer up.

Articulation of the stalks into leafage higher up.

Finally a view toward the sky, showing that they spread their shade.


  1. Are the stalks rigid enough to use for gardening stakes the next year?

  2. Absolutely, Montag. Absolutely!


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