Monday, July 11, 2011

July 11: Bamboo

A friend in Lincolnville, whom I visited this afternoon, has a rather eclectic gardening sense. He's built his house in a clearing surrounded by spruces, and various plants are flowering seemingly at random amid the indigenous greenery: ornamental grasses pop up amid mossy stumps, delicate little Japanese maples stand here and there amid daisies and ferns, and bamboo plants with variegated leaves lean over the driveway. Out back a small pool hosts a few lily pads, another features a plastic reptile of the Loch Ness monster type. A stone-paved labyrinth spirals behind the deck, a bit overgrown but still magical.

A series of planks forms a sort of bridge toward a lush patch of boreal wetland. Along the way, one thatch of fancy grass with broad, drooping blades looks, as my friend says, like the hair of a Dr. Seuss character. Or a crazy nest waiting for a dinosaur egg. Wild partridgeberry with tiny twinned blossoms creeps close to the ground alongside more bamboo, a different species. These particular bamboo plants sprouted from clippings from another plant elsewhere in the yard. Walking on the bridge with a bamboo plant on either side of us, my friend points out several baby bamboo plants that have sprung up in a rough line between them, as if they two plants are trying to reconnect through these offshoots. I couldn't help but think of the Chinese folk tale about the Weaver Girl and the Cowherd, lovers who became two stars separated by the Milky Way, only allowed to meet one night each summer in early July.

Cut from the same plant,
bamboo roots send out new shoots,
try to reconnect.

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