Michael Petrie Loves Bamboo


Kyoto Bamboo

Fifteen years ago Michael Petrie planted black bamboo behind his Swarthmore home.

Today, the 20-foot-tall plants not only create a nice mass of shade and dramatic backdrop, but they also  make a wonderful sound in the wind and rain.

“There is a bit of a stigma attached to bamboo in American gardening,” said Petrie, owner of Michael Petrie’s HANDMADE GARDENS in Chester County. “In other parts of the globe, bamboo is used as lumber, flooring and paper. It’s really an under-utilized resource in the western world.”

Bamboo requires persistent maintenance so it may not be for everyone, but  good old-fashioned green bamboo will be the front and center of his exhibit, “Bamboo” at the 2010 Philadelphia International Flower Show, “Passport to the World.”

The Painted Tree

“We’re doing a bamboo grove. There will be plenty of surprises,” he said. Petrie, who created large-scale landscape exhibits for the Flower Show under the J. Franklin Styer Nurseries, Inc. name for 20 years (1987-2007), returned to the Show under the name of his own business, Michael Petrie’s HANDMADE GARDENS, with the exhibit “The Painted Tree” in 2009. At the 2010 Show, his focus will be on China, he said.

Bamboo is used in traditional Chinese gardening for both its beauty and sound. Petrie may also include in his exhibit traditional elements like colorful potted container plants, ground covers, a stone garden, and a Zen sand garden.

The biggest feat may be cutting down the 26,000 20-foot-tall bamboo poles needed for “Bamboo,” he said. At least he won’t have to travel far. Petrie has a grove nestled on the west side of his business.

“You aren’t going to know you’re in the Convention Center. The goal is to get you to feel like you’re somewhere else.”

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3 Responses to “Michael Petrie Loves Bamboo”

  1. carole darwin Says:

    Hi Michael, You probably don’t remember me by name but I’ve spoken to both you and your wife and (debbie?) and Sue several times. Anyway We have a loooog time BBamboo problem with our neighbor. I’m sure he would let you cut down all you want. Uwchlan Ave #215 on the right just after Woodmont north apts. His name is Steve Long tel. #610 524 8410.This is the no. at his law office. He’s a nice guy. he periodically attempts to cut down some of the bamboo but,of course it comes right back and is growing on our property. He thinks it will muffle the road noise. If you happen to talk to him about the “problems with Bamboo” I wouldn’t mind if you mentioned 2% vinegar as the only thing to kill it,ecologically speaking. I told him but I don’t think he believes me. Anyway, all the luck in the world, the plans sound FABULOUS! Carole Darwin (your neighbor)

  2. BJane Stewart Says:

    Can’t wait to see what you finally come up with this year…you never disappoint.

    I am “rooting” for you!

  3. John Kohler Says:

    My company Chester County Bamboo specializes in all aspects of bamboo installation, management and removal.

    Carole, if you need help with the bamboo, let me know…. Vinegar is natural, but not very effective at killing established bamboo. Bamboo has a sap within the canes that essentially prevents a cut cane from wicking in any chemicals within seconds after it is cut.

    Check out our website at http://www.ccbamboo.com

    John Kohler
    Chester County Bamboo

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