Bamboo in Permaculture

I love bamboo: growing, eating, crafting, building, and listening to the sounds of creaking culms and rustling leaves in the wind. It provides me with microclimates, windbreaks, privacy screens, animal fodder, wildlife habitat, an endless supply of mulch, delicious tender eating shoots, lots of materials for the garden and building small structures. My patch also sequesters the amount of CO2 generated by two overseas work flights to Asia each year, or one flight to Europe or the Americas, to teach permaculture.

When I acquired Djanbung Gardens near Nimbin, northern NSW, in the early 1990s, bamboo was going to be an important part of the overall design. I gleaned information and practical tips on the most useful varieties from several bamboo enthusiasts and growers, including Hans Erken of Earthcare Enterprises, and Victor Cusak, author of Bamboo world: the growing and use of clumping bamboos (Victor Cusack 2010), and took care where I placed the varieties in the design. We held our first bamboo workshop at Djanbung Gardens, with Hans and Victor, in 1994 and started planting. Ten years later we held another bamboo workshop, with Julianne Hartmann and Rob Swain, where I learned more of the art and tricks of building with bamboo. Since then we have conducted annual bamboo workshops during the harvest season.