Friday, February 04, 2011

Garden Visit: Mike Bell's Bamboo Collection

We had the pleasure of visiting Mike Bell last May and seeing his bamboo collection which he maintains on a dedicated site. He is the President Emeritus of The European Bamboo Society (EBS Great Britain) and regarded as the top most expert when it comes to growing and cultivating bamboo in the UK.

A very knowledgeable and down to earth man, we had a lovely time looking at his collection whilst chatting about the bamboos and all sorts of other exotic plants. Most of his specimens are stunning and well maintained solely by him. And lots of rare specimens and new introductions too!

Here are just some of the photos we took during our visit. There will be some that I don't have a label for as I've forgotten what they were but most will have, but bamboo aficionados might be able to ID them just by looking :)

Phyllostachys aureosulcata 'Harbin'

Phyllostachys aureosulcata 'Harbin Inversa'

Mike Bell showing us his specimen of Borinda lushuiensis (Yunnan 4) which was severely cut back from last winter

Borinda (Yunnan 3B)

Chusquea nigricans
Chusquea gigantea

Chusquea culeou


  1. Oh how I adore bamboo. I read a novel once where one scene was set in a bamboo maze. Wouldn't that be something? From these photos I really like the Borinda (Yunan) one. I do have some in pots...but too invasive for my little garden.

  2. Dear Mark and Gaz, This sounds to have been a wonderful visit, made all the more special by being able to talk with Mr Bell himself. There is nothing quite like being in the presence of an expert to have one's interest raised to another level. For my own part, I love the black stemmed Bamboo which I have seen grown remarkably well in a pot. [The owners did tell me they polished the stems with boot polish!]

  3. Great pictures of the Bamboo Mark. The first one Phyllostachys aureosulcata 'Harbin' I do have in the garden, and I also have the black stemmed Nigra. I have had a broad leafed variegated one in the garden for three years, don't know the name, seemed to be doing fine, however this severe Winter has finished it off.

  4. WOW, WOW, WOW. I was in bamboo heaving looking at these photos. Where is Mike Bell's garden located?

    They're all beautiful, but that Chusquea gigantea is extra special. We planted one at my in-laws' place last summer. I hope it'll look half as nice in 3-4 years.

    Thank you for sharing these pictures.

    :: Bamboo and More ::

  5. Love bamboo, especially the clumping types. There are SO many different varieties.

  6. Thank you for this visit! I did not know the Borinda gender: the shape is great.
    Have a good wkend,

  7. Thanks everyone! :) Apologies for the delayed replies, we've got limited internet access at the moment and for the next few days.

    Hazel, Oz is very strict when it comes to importation of bamboos but the variety of what's available there is good already. Bamboo maze is fab! You can just mow or hack your way into a grove to make one :)

    Totally agree Edith! There's so much to learn from the wisdom and years of experience from the man.

    Glad you're a member of the Harbin club Alistair, it is a gorgeous bamboo :) Hopefully the variegated broadleaf one just defoliated and would come back in the spring.

    Gerhard, I knew you'd like this post! :) Mike Bell is based in Cornwall.

    Missy, I'm enamoured by them too!

    Thanks Gabriel! Borinda is a relatively new Genus, some of them will be relocated to Fargesia and Yushania :)


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