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Amazing Bamboo
Friday, 7 February 2014

Whether you believe in feng shui or not plants are a key source of thought and optimism. The Chinese have revered bamboo for centuries. The association of bamboo with good luck and wealth stems from its rapid growth and long life. Found in almost every kind of climate and region, from cold mountains to tropical forests, bamboo is the tallest member of the grass family. Bamboo is also one of the earth�s most remarkable resources and one of the fastest growing plants on earth. With over a thousand documented species bamboo it has a long history and special place within the culture and everyday lives of millions of people around the world.

Renowned for its durability, resistance to pests, vigorous self-propagating capacity and admired for its elegance and beauty, bamboo produces 35% more oxygen than any other tree species. lf it were used for forest re—growth programs globally there would be a significant reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. It is said that bamboo is the only living thing that survived the Hiroshima atomic bomb and it also provided the initial re- greening in the aftermath of the destruction.

Bamboo is a not only a beautiful plant but also a highly useful resource which has played an important role in the life of people all across Asia.   Bamboo has been and continues to be used on a daily basis in an almost unbelievable diverse range of uses. From food to eating and cooking utensils, to furniture and construction, it is one of the cheapest most available renewable sources of building material available to man. lt is known for its tensile strength. During structural engineering tests bamboo is shown to have a much higher tensile strength than many alloys of steel and a higher compressive strength than some mixtures of concrete. This is the reason that it has been used as a material in construction throughout the past and present in Asia. Almost a billion people live in bamboo houses worldwide!

The bamboo plant is also the home for many animals and for the endangered panda it is its only source of food. It is even used medicinally by the Chinese to speed healing and reduce infections. ln traditional indian medicine it is used to treat kidney problems and the symptoms of asthma. The sap is said to reduce fever and the roots and leaves have properties that have been used to treat cancer. All these uses yet it needs very little care to grow and flourish.

ln Indonesia there is a close cultural link with bamboo. Many of the traditional Indonesian houses, boats, musical instruments (such as wooden flutes) and furnishings are either made entirely from bamboo or contain elements of bamboo within their construction. ln Indonesia bamboo is also used to produce a diverse range of goods such as gazebos, furniture, mats and flooring, blinds, skewers, ashtrays, bowls, wind—chimes, fences, ladders and it is also commonly seen as scaffolding on any building site in Bali and throughout Indonesia. You are almost certainly guaranteed to have had the pleasure of eating in a bamboo warung, at least one time, they’re everywhere, and if you haven’t, then go and look for one!

Bamboo also plays a crucial role in ceremonial life. Bamboo poles are used to build pavilions, or hang ornaments and fly flags during the many ceremonies that are enacted around Bali on a daily basis. The local security guards will often operate a bamboo boom gate at hotels and beach parking locations, whilst bamboo pole fishing is another favorite of the locals here in Bali. Really it has so many uses within the local culture that I don’t have enough space to list them all here.

ln Chinese folklore bamboo represents the virtue of simplicity because it rarely produces flowers or fruit. They do flower occasionally, but usually every 60 to 130 years. An orchard of bamboo will flower at the same time, followed by the death of all the adult plants. A Chinese philosopher once compared himself to bamboo, saying, ‘I will not grow flowers so that l avoid tempting the butterflies and bees to disturb me.` ln another Chinese myth the bamboo is considered a gentleman with perfect virtues because it combines upright integrity with accommodating flexibility; it has the perfect balance of beauty and strength, or Yin and the Yang. The drooping bamboo leaves cross one another, as if they are compo-sing the Chinese character “An” (tranquility), one of the primary reasons it is so revered.

Bamboo is very common in Asia and it is no surprise that it is becoming more popular in Europe and America. More and more people like using bamboo in their gardens, as it grows compact and fast and is always green, can be used perfectly as a fence windbreak, or screen Bamboo is good natural choice for garden furniture and there is a wide range of traditional bamboo furniture to choose from in Bali and throughout all Indonesia for that matter, there are tables, chairs, daybeds, even gazebos to choose from.

lf you wish to grow bamboo look for compact or dwarf varieties as you don’t want it to get out of control too quickly. l think that you should have absolutely no trouble in Ending many varieties of bamboo within the nurseries of Bali and Indonesia!

Before I go we cannot forget the lucky bamboo plant that you can find at markets and nurseries anywhere in the world. The lucky bamboo are somewhat of a fad at the moment, said to bring luck as they are believed to be an ideal example of the thriving wood and water element. The lucky bamboo is not actually a bamboo it is a plant from the lily family, Dracaena sanderiana. However it looks similar to bamboo. They are usually sold individually or in some sort of glorious spiral arrangement, good for placement inside the home or office. Careful though, this plant may be toxic to pets.

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