I am often asked about the image on my business card and the words “Bamboo Fan”. It makes me laugh, and I am always happy to explain. To be honest, I didn’t have a good opinion of bamboo some time ago. Like many of my contemporaries, I had learned that it caused problems in gardens. It had a life of its own and grew where it wasn’t supposed to – spreading at an alarming rate at times and defying all efforts to kill or remove it.
In 2008, I went to live in China. I had been offered an opportunity to teach English there and jumped at the opportunity. I learned that the Chinese love their bamboo and use it in ways, that surprised me. I learned to love it – and at one stage did research on what items could be made from bamboo.
The building in which I lived in my three semesters in China was surrounded on 3 sides by bamboo. A rather slender variety which was probably grown to hide the rather ugly canal from view, although, on one side, it was an attractive canal.
Bit by bit I learned how bamboo was used in different ways. I was presented with a gift of hand towels and in commenting on the softness I learned that they were made from bamboo.
Now, in 2015, there are a lot of bamboos grown in gardens – both public and private, as gardeners learn the difference between the challenging varieties (running bamboo) and the easier to grow species (clumping bamboo) and I am forever seeing it growing in places that I had not noticed it before.
I had been a member of the Bamboo Society of Australia, though currently NOT a financial member, and I note that in September this year there is an international Bamboo Conference in South Korea. When I learned of it today, I momentarily thought I should go – but as my passport is out of date and my bank funds are limited, I immediately dismissed the idea.
It will be held in Damyang, South Korea and sounds wonderful. You can read about it here.
I did spend three months in South Korea and went so very close to this place, but I doubt I actually spent any time in this city. I was never sure where I was!
Here is a video about the Bamboo Congress.
I love bamboo products and have an amazing collection of them. I wear bamboo underwear, use bamboo towels, have bamboo chopping boards, a bamboo mouse, and so it goes.
Do some research yourself and then ask why we don’t use more of this amazing grass.