Monday, August 1, 2011

Bamboo sightings in midtown Sacramento

Midtown Sacramento may be full of hustle and bustle during the week, but on Sunday mornings, it’s as sleepy as a country town. I experienced that yesterday as I photographed bamboo plantings in front of two businesses (thank you, Sean at Madman Bamboo, for the tip).

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Beautifully restored Victorians in midtown Sacramento

The first planting I photographed is a well maintained stand of black bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra) in front of a small mixed-use building. This bamboo is planted in a shallow raised bed and only has about 7 feet of vertical clearance before hitting the ceiling of the overhang.

I think this is a very successful example of using a running bamboo in a relatively small space, and it illustrates that bamboo can be topped without losing the essential “bamboo look.” (Once a bamboo culm has reached its final height, it will never grow taller. Consequently, after you’ve cut it at the desired height, this culm will always remain at that height.)

The culms of this black bamboo are nicely spaced, resulting in an airy feeling. The lush underplanting heightens the exotic look. On a hot day, just seeing this bamboo makes you feel cool.

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The other bamboo sighting was a Bambusa multiplex ‘Alphonse Karr’ just a block away. It is planted in a slightly raised bed (presumably with much more soil below) and mulched with small pebbles for a classic look. The shiny black tiles on the wall behind it really set it off nicely.

While the bamboo seems to belong to the taller building on the right, I think it ties in well with the Japanese restaurant Kru to the left. Behind the one-story building where Kru is located you can see the top of a white Victorian with turquoise trim; the combination of these three buildings is typical for midtown Sacramento where the traditional and the contemporary coexist in visually exciting ways.

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I’m sure there is a lot more bamboo in midtown and downtown Sacramento. If you know of any, please leave a comment below.

Also check out this post about the large stands of Phyllostachys bambusoides in Capitol Park.

And don’t miss Bamboo Spotter, an interactive Google map created by Sean at Madman Bamboo. As Sean says, “the purpose of the map is to map spots in the world where bamboo plants or groves can be seen in public spaces or from public streets.” This map is editable by anybody, so if you know of any publicly visible or accessible bamboos, please consider adding them.

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