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The Mystique of Bamboo
My interest in bamboo began as a young boy living in an inner city terrace in South Melbourne. We didn't really have a garden just a privet hedge growing across the front picket fence and a climbing red rose in our very small backyard. Most people had very small gardens and no lawns or grass to play on - in fact the nearest grass was three blocks away, so when I occasionally went to stay at my aunt's place who had a big backyard, grass and bamboo growing, my creative imagination took over. I became Robin Hood with my home made bow and arrows, a fisherman catching yabbies from the nearby creek, a swashbuckling swordsman etc. all through the courtesy of my aunt's bamboo. But unlike Peter Pan I grew up and left my childhood imagination with my bow and arrows and memories, though little did I know that bamboo would continue to be a play a significant role in my life.
Bamboo of course has been a major factor in the lives of millions of people and animals dating back almost as far as the Cretaceous period. Throughout history, bamboo has been a primary source of food and shelter, furniture, medicine and even musical instruments. It has been said that the original didgeridoos used by Australian aborigines were made from Bambusa arnhemica bamboo. Now in the year 2011 we walk on bamboo panelled flooring, use computers with bamboo veneer casing, wear it as socks and other garments but the most important role bamboo has to play is environmental. Bamboo is very effective for sequestering the greenhouse gases that are causing climate change. Recent research has discovered that bamboo can absorb up to five times more carbon dioxide than an equivalent stand of trees. Having converted the carbon dioxide into carbohydrates it is then released as oxygen. Bamboo is so efficient at this process it produces 35% more oxygen than most trees. Bamboo - this fast growing amazing giant grass revered for so long by so many cultures, aesthetically beautiful, incredibly strong and resilient and so useful - is still a very necessary part of my life and yours.
"The journey of a beautiful Grove begins with a single culm "