When The Fountain Runs Dry

14 fargesia1

These subtle, delicate blooms are the final curtain call of our last specimen of Fargesia nitida – the fountain bamboo. We lost its companion clump a couple of years ago, and now it is this one’s turn to go. Like an old couple who die within a short time of one another, it seems our two bamboos have gone on to another world, unwilling to be alone or apart any longer. That’s the rather anthropomorphic take on the more realistic life-cycle of the fountain bamboo.

This is a long-lived plant that blooms once every hundred years, goes to seed, and promptly dies. That means there are groups of Fargesia that are going through a die-down around the world. The plants we happened to purchase ten years ago were nearing the end of that cycle. It’s unfortunate, because what are the odds of the once-a-century timing happening now?

When I originally bemoaned and lamented the fact that we were losing our bamboo clumps (they’d made a rather full and welcome buffer to the corners of the house) a friend commented that rather than regret the loss, I should be thankful that I got to see such a rare event – something that happens only once every hundred years, and it turned my way of thinking around. She was right – so when this second plant started to bloom, I took a deep breath, let it out, and smiled a little. Such was the way of the world.

It’s currently going to seed, and so will make a rather depressing sight as it goes brown and dry for the rest of this season, but I’ll collect what I can, and see if my Dad and I can start the next generation of fountains next year.

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