NEC Spring Meeting, Cylburn Arboretum

July 5, 2014

Big thanks go out to NEC President Scott Ritchie for organizing a wonderful spring meeting at the Cylburn Arboretum in Baltimore, Maryland, the weekend of June 21st. The site has a long history of gardening, dating back to 1863. This 170-acre site is owned and managed by the city of Baltimore and is an impressive gem. Scott works here as a staff horticulturist, and is perhaps solely responsible for the fact that the arboretum has any bamboo at all. Our small but intrepid group toured the various plantings and spent time talking about the past winter’s effect on our own bamboos, cultural info on various species, the need to divide and root prune contained runners, and enjoyed each other’s company. I gave a powerpoint presentation on my recently published book and also showed some pics from a recent trip to Taiwan and China. Additional thanks go to Steph Ritchie for managing all the food & drinks!

It must be said that we were disappointed more people did not come out for this event. As volunteers and crusaders, putting together even a small outing takes time and energy. In my case, I traveled over 300 miles. Joan Greenwood came from NYC. Elizabeth Aldrich drove over from Annapolis. Tom Starr drove down from Pennsylvania. The Ritchie’s put it all together. Why don’t we get more people from our Chapter out to events? Do the majority of members only need a newsletter? Isn’t it great to share time with actual bambuseros and learn from the exchange of conversation and the visiting of new places? Or should we start a chat group and only meet in cyber-ville??? Please let Scott or myself know what you’d like the NEC to do next. Anonymity is fine. We sincerely want our Chapter to be lively and thrive and grow, but we need your help. Please take the time to tell us, as a member of NEC, why you are a member and what you’d like to see us do next.

As for the discussion on the winter’s wrath, let’s just say most of the bamboos are recovering, slowing and hesitantly. My huge Fargesia robusta Wolong died to the ground, but the roots pushed up some wimpy leaf-laden whips of about 3 feet long. Phyllostachys parvifolia has yet to send up even one new shoot, but the impressive growth of last year survived only minor leaf burn. Noah sent me some clumpers to “trial” last fall, and amazingly, the Chusquea culeou survived and made some nice new culms last month! So, one never knows.

‘Hope to see you at the Huntington in September for the ABS Annual Meeting!

2014-06-21 11.47.09~ Susanne Lucas

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NEC Spring 2014 Meeting: June 21st!

Hello old friends and new members!

Time for a spring/summer meeting.

I’ve set us up for June 21st at the Cylburn Arboretum in Baltimore MD. We’ll start about 9am and go until we can’t boo anymore (about 3pm).

Cylburn a unique gem in Northern Baltimore City, 250+ acres with 70 horticultural acres centered around a 1880’s stone mansion. With modern facilities, six glass greenhouses (which I manage for the City’s Horticuliture Division) and plantings of various bamboos; including a native species, Cylburn is a great meeting site.

Hopefully I will see all you members there, especially some Directors, and local promotion will get some new interest. We’ll talk about culture, care, splitting and crafting. There be an auction or rare plant sale too. Bring work gear because we’ll do some field work.

There is a Holiday Inn and a Radisson near by for accommodations. We’ll provide lunch, entertainment, and possibly cocktails.

For more info reply or call me, Scott at 410 960 6868
Cylburn Arboretum
4915 Greenspring Ave.
Baltimore MD 21209

In other news the national ABS conference has been moved from Oct. to Sept. 12-14th at Huntington Gardens outside of Los Angeles. But there as been some confusion in SoCal on this front so we are still waiting to hear the official outcome. I’ll let everyone know the news as soon as I hear it.

– Scott Ritchie, NEC President and NEC Chapter Rep

email  <>


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From Ned Newton, Westport, MA

<< Since you asked, I thought I would give you a few bullets on bamboo at my place this winter (dare I say spring yet).  The forecast (March 24) is for more snow and last night it was down to 14 F.

1.       I did a study several winters ago comparing actual exposed temperature against the official temperature which is shaded from radiation cooling.  The night time temperatures averaged 5 to as much as 10 degrees colder in the open.  With the 5 degrees for the colder, 15 to 20 degree nights.  So, what does this mean to me the gardener?  Plant zones and temperature ratings for plants are given by the minimum temperature.  But, are these actual measured temperatures at the plant or official weather station temperatures?  For back yard gardens and small plantings we are really interested in micro-climates at the location we are planting our bamboo.  This can vary by many degrees, particularly around buildings.  So, the best we can hope is that the catalog listings of minimum temperatures are accurate.  Then we should adjust our expectation of minimum temperatures for the exact location.  This would mean reducing an exposed location by 5 to 10 degrees from the “official” minimum temperature for the area.  Of course nature is never too precise, and there are several levels of loss due to low temperatures:  loss of leaves, loss of culm, and finally loss of the whole plant, rhizomes.

2.       This past winter my lowest, shaded, temperature was 4 degrees on a clear night, and this is the lowest I have seen in 15 years.  I am in zone 7a which is supposed to have a minimum temperature of between 0 and 5.  Pretty accurate.

3.       For the first time every bamboo on my property has their leaves desiccated;  yes even the rock hardy, Phyllostachys parvifolia.  Hopefully they will re-leaf in the spring.  However, I plan to cut to the ground the Sasa palmata f. nebulosa, Indocalamus solidas, Hibanobambusa tranquillans ‘Shiroshima’, and Pleioblastus viridistriatus ‘Chrysophylla’ .  I hope this is not too drastic, but I would like new fresh leaves for the summer.  They are all spreading, and so a cut back in growth would also be desirable.

4.       The Sasa palmata f. nebulosa, Indocalamus solidas, and Pleioblastus viridi- striatus ‘Chrysophylla’ are absolutely beautiful with their solid pale tan leaves.  What a treat, since they are right at the end of the driveway and seen every time I go by.

5.       Something very unusual, at least for me, has happened to the Fargesia group here at my home.  They are all standing straight and tall, except perhaps the F. rufa which has an ever so slight curve, no whereas near a bow as usual.  They also all have dried leaves.  The standing tall looks great in the garden where I have them.  However, I have on my list of winter things to do to prune back the clumps to provide room for the neighboring plants which are getting crowded out.  Now that they are straight, there is no problem.  I suppose I should plan ahead and assume they will again be bowing when the spring comes and things warm up.  The Fargesia which are so affected are:  F. rufa;  F. rufa, narrow leaved;  F. robusta;  F. nitida ‘Jiuzhaigou’;  and F. denudata.  The narrow leaved version of rufa is, right now, much straighter than the usual rufa.  The first time I have noticed any difference between the two.

6.       I am getting older and weaker, and so we are cutting back on the Phyllostachys collection.  Quite  a shame since to me they are the “real” bamboo.  There is nothing like walking through a grove.  If anyone wants rhizomes of P. aureosulcata ‘Aureocaulis’,  please give me a call.  The bed is approximately 48  by 11 feet.

7.       Elizabeth and I always enjoy the bamboo group.  So, if you all would like to come for a visit this spring/summer we would be honored. >>


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From Whitney Adams, Groton CT

<< Yes, the bamboo law in CT is inconvenient.  I am reducing the size of my Phyllostachys plantings.  They do get a little overly vigorous at times.  However, I am retaining all my other running bamboos like Borinda solidus?, S. palmata, Shibatea kumasaca, I. tesselatus, etc.

My P. nuda started flowering last summer, so maybe it will not be a problem to remove. This is the time when the clump-forming bamboos will become even more appreciated than they are now.  They sure are beautiful! >>

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Lecture and book signing at the Arnold Arboretum, April 2

Hey, I’m doing a bamboo presentation and book-signing gig on April 2 at the Arnold Arboretum…. please come! We can meet at Doyle’s for a quick dinner before heading to the Arnold Arboretum.

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2014 Greetings!

I suspect you are much like me in feeling like this winter has been a real bruiser.  Today the sun is shining brightly here and the icicles are melting, and I can only hope that by the end of the weekend, the snow will be gone. We have had snowfall followed by snowfall, and it will indeed be a treat to see green grass some day.   ABS President James Clever has urged some pro-active out-reach, as our Chapter has been sleeping awhile, so I decided to take a few minutes and write to you today.
Have you renewed your membership in ABS?  If not, please do!
Thank you so very much your continued support of ABS.  Like all non-profits, especially those administered by volunteers, our organization depends on membership dues. Paying dues means you care about the ABS and you care about bamboo.
Hey, Scott and Steph – what’s up?   Last year (June) we had a great time in the Phyllostachys groves of Larry Holland’s East West Farm in Amenia, NY — under the crackin’ whip of Dolores’ son, Anthony Poveromo.  We all like the suggestion of having “mini-meetings” (which in fact is all we have had for years due to poor attendance), so now it is time to START PLANNING these.  Hope one or two or three of you will step up and organize something ?   Please!  I’d like to say come here to Plymouth and help me with some of my thinning, but I just booked a trip to China that will take most of the month of March.  But maybe in April we could make a plan.   Please step up and help something happen for the NEC.
We no longer publish a NEC newsletter because of the expense of printing and postage, and because I got tired of doing all the work.  So please, share some thoughts, some pics, some stories, and we will all enjoy it.
News:  Dave Flanagan is working on a bamboo sculpture to be erected in Manhattan NEXT WEEK.   I think it is in Bryant Park?  Artist is the reknown Benjamin Tritt.  See:
I just wrote an article about the nomenclature of Fargesia dracocephala‘Rufa’ for the ABS magazine, BAMBOO.  It should be in the next issue.  I had lots of help from taxonomist Chris Stapleton and nursery manager Noah Bell of Bamboo Garden, so hopefully it is helpful and clarifies some issues.
The state of Connecticut continues its ridiculous tirade of banning the planting of running bamboos, following some New York municipalities.  Holly Johnson, past-president of the CT Nurseryman’s Association and manager of Summerhill Nursery in Madison, CT testified yesterday in Hartford on behalf of the nursery industry.  Unfortunately the mis-informed irrational bamboo-haters are loud and obnoxious, pushing legislators to pass such bans.
What else is going on?  Please share your news!
Again, please re-new your membership dues, please post on the NEC page of the ABS website, and participate.  The ABS Facebook page is busy — JOIN — and we also have a LinkedIn page!
Let’s hope Spring comes soon.  <photo is Fargesia dracocephala ‘Rufa’ GREEN PANDA in my garden, Feb 2014>
Thanks – and best wishes,
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New book: Bamboo by Susanne Lucas

Yep, I did it.  I wrote a book.  It took me about 3 years in between all the other things that take up life, and I hope it is an interesting read for you.  Here is the some info about it:

Series: Reaktion Books – Botanical

  • Hardcover: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Reaktion Books (December 15, 2013)
  • Distributed in the USA by University of Chicago Press (  Telephone 800-621-2736
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780232012
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780232010
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.6 x 0.8 inches
  • 107 illustrations, 95 in color
  • List price: $27

Summary:   Bamboo has an unparalleled history; it is very old, and at the same time very new. Bamboo extends far beyond the boundaries of most plants – it is distributed widely throughout the world, and is utilized by hundreds of millions of people in a great number of ways. Through its myriad uses as food, clothing, paper and shelter, bamboo has met the physical and spiritual requirements of humanity since the earliest times. It is believed that the first books were written on bamboo, and there is evidence that it was used by humans more than 5,000 years ago for the framework of housing as well as musical instruments. It also occurs in the creation beliefs of cultures across the globe.

Bamboo plays a vital role in the survival of many animals and ecosystems as well as having unique characteristics, offering potential solutions to modern ecological dilemmas – it grows extremely quickly, for example, making it an easily renewable resource. With the advent of modern research and technologies, the use of bamboo has increased dramatically, elevating its importance to human society – it can be found in the filaments of light bulbs, the skins of airplanes and the reinforcements of concrete. Bamboo is even a new material for today’s modern bicycles. This book draws on a vast array of sources to build a complete picture of bamboo in both history and our modern world.

Contents:  Introduction, Chapter One: Distribution, Diversity and Classification, Chapter Two: Horticulture, Chapter Three: The Hand of Man, Chapter Four: Modern Potentials, Today and Tomorrow, Chapter Five: The Environment.  Timeline. Appendix I Tribes and Subtribes of Bamboo. Appendix II Bamboo Gardens and Arboreta. References. Further Reading. Associations and Websites. 107 illustrations, 95 in color.

Susanne Lucas is Executive Director of the World Bamboo Organization and a horticulturist, designer, landscape gardener and consultant based in Plymouth, Massachusetts.  For more info on Susanne, please see here:
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Celebrate World Bamboo Day on Cape Cod with NEC members!

Join us on Saturday, September 21, 2013 in Cotuit Village (Cape Cod, Massachusetts) for a scenic 5K Walk/Run in celebration of World Bamboo Day! Many thanks to our generous sponsors, which include bamboo businesses from across the United States and Canada. Some of the sponsoring organizations include Woo Bamboo, Cariloha, EverBamboo, Bamboo Leaf Tea, Bambooee, Bum Boosa Bamboo Products, Boo Bamboo, Bambooki, Bamboosa Clothing, Water the Bamboo and Bamboo Ontario. Food for the event is generously donated by Panera Bread of Mashpee. The first 125 pre-registered participants will receive a bamboo gift bag full of unique and interesting bamboo products from these sponsors, such as bamboo tooth brushes, bamboo soap, bamboo tea, bamboo socks, bamboo cosmetics, and bamboo wet wipes. There will be items raffled off such as bamboo massages by En Route Spa, bamboo SUP board guided tours by Peace Love SUP, and gift certificates by online bamboo merchant

On the morning of the race please arrive by 8:15AM at the Cotuit Federated Church located at 40 School Street, Cotuit, MA 02635. On street parking and parking at the Cotuit Post Office will be available.

The race will begin at 9AM!

Entry Fee $27.50

For more info and to REGISTER, go to

Even if you don’t want to run or walk, come help man our table or help out along the route!    Thanks!


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NEC ABS Bamboo Open House June 15 Amenia, NY

June 15th  Saturday

9am to 6pm

Come join us for a bamboo work party!

Learn thinning and harvesting techniques. Control strategies. 

Large collection of both running and clumping cold-hardy bamboos

Help rejuvenate overgrown groves.
(Bring your own tools)

Chapter meeting, Bamboo auction, Cook out!

BRING YOUR OWN FOOD & DRINK – we will have a grill going, so bring something to share. Bring a cooler w/ ice please.

East West Bamboo Farm and Garden

14 Yellow City Road, Amenia, NY 12501

     RSVP Larry 845-373-9020

Larry Holland in the garden

Larry Holland in the garden

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CCE to Host Bamboo and Bonsai Programs

Posted by Danielle De Souza (Editor), May 23, 2013 at 02:03 pm

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County (CCE) announced that it will host bamboo and bonsai programs at the Horticulture Center at East Meadow Farms at 832 Merrick Ave. in June.

Bamboo Basics: “Incorporating Bamboo into Northeastern Landscapes,” will be  presented by Professor Michael Veracka, chairperson of ornamental horticulture at SUNY Farmingdale State College. The event will take place on June 13 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. It will cost $5 for CCE members and $10 for non-members

The “Create Your Own Bonsai For Beginners Workshop,” will include Award winning Bonsai expert and instructor John Capobianco. He will teach fundamental techniques for turning ordinary nursery stock into a bonsai specimen. This workshop will focus on proper plant selection, branch and root pruning, wiring, and potting. The event will take place on June 15 from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. It will cost $85 for CCE members and $95 for non-members. Registration is required by June 13.

For more info:

Michael Veracka
Chairman, Assistant Professor
Dept. of Ornamental Horticulture
Farmingdale State College
2350 Broadhollow Rd.
Farmingdale, NY 11735
(631) 420-2113
Fax: (631) 420-2766

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