What To Do With All This Bamboo

The fence along our driveway has been on borrowed time for years.  Whenever we had a windstorm, it would whip and shake.  We would joke that the only thing holding it up was the bamboo growing on either side of it.

So this was going to be the summer that we (and of course by “we” I mean Chris) finally replaced it.  

But I had mixed feelings.  I loved the weathered look of the old fence.  New wood just wouldn’t be the same.

Happily, Chris and the neighbor we share the fence with decided to take an Earth-friendly (and budget-friendly) approach by rebuilding it instead of replacing it.  They only replaced the posts and runners that were rotted, but they re-used the old fence boards – at least those in good condition. 

Usually DIY projects wind up being more difficult and time-consuming than expected, and this was one of those rare cases where the opposite happened.  And the best part, as far as I’m concerned, is that the fence still has that rustic patina that I love.

Bye Bye Bamboo

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Of course, to access the fence, some of the bamboo growing on the west end needed to be removed – a lot of it in fact.

And it looked so beautiful.  Some of it was gorgeous black bamboo.  I removed the branches and left the canes.

Bamboo

We gave some away and kept some. 

I’d already been using our bamboo for plant stakes, especially the more interesting bent canes.

Bamboo stake

But what else could I do with all this bamboo?

Bamboo Projects

I was a little obsessed with the black bamboo, although I’ve been told that most types fade after they dry – just like other bamboos. 

But I wanted to use it anyway to make a little trellis for a jasmine vine growing in a 10-inch pot. 

An Asian-Inspired Trellis

I cut two 38-inch canes that would serve as vertical stakes, and five canes at lengths of 18, 16, 14, 12, and 10 inches as the horizontal runners.

I used my sewing pattern cutting board to space the canes exactly as I wanted them, and then I marked them with a felt pen for assembly later.

Simple bamboo projects: Spacing the canes

Then I suspended the vertical canes between two chairs and used Super Glue to attach the horizontal canes.  The Super Glue was not intended as a permanent adhesive – only as a way to hold the canes in place until I could tie them together.  

Tying them together, as I learned, is called lashing.  I found this helpful video and, after practicing a little, this method of lashing became etched into my muscle memory.

But the whole thing was going too smoothly, so I had to complicate it.  Instead of the waxed lashing cord used in the video, I decided to use the caning material I already had on hand from the time I revamped four rattan chairs.

 

 Bamboo projects - lashing

I’m sure the caning material was not nearly as easy to work with as lashing cord would have been.  But I think it gave the trellis a fun look.

Simple bamboo projects: Asian-inspired trellis

It will be interesting to see how long the black bamboo actually stays black.

A Dahlia Fence

Now that I knew how to tie lashing, there was no stopping me.  But for my next project, I would keep it simple and use plain old jute twine.

Last fall, I planted some dahlia tubers that my neighbor gave me.  I didn’t expect the plants to do much in their first year, but they have exploded.  By the time I realized they were getting out of hand, it was too late to stake or cage them without doing more harm than good. 

So I decided to make a little bamboo fence to hold them back from the walkway.

I built the fence in place. I pounded three 36-inch canes into the soil, spacing them about 23 inches apart.

Then I used garden tape to suspend the horizontal canes from the vertical canes on either side while I tied them.  I made sure everything was level and evenly spaced.

Simple bamboo projects - dahlia fence
Holding the canes in place while building the fence.

A half hour later, voila!

Simple bamboo projects: completed dahlia fence

Simple bamboo projects: completed dahlia fence closeup

I have plenty of bamboo left, so I’m looking for ideas.  If you have a good bamboo project, leave a comment and tell me about it.

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10 Replies to “What To Do With All This Bamboo”

  1. Wow, your Dahlias are gorgeous.
    I love that flower and have tried them for over ten years but they always become infested with earwigs and die.
    I’ve tried just about everything.
    Do you dig up the tubers in the fall and replant in spring?

    What about using some of the left over bamboo to make some wind chimes?
    Love what you have done thus far!

    1. Hi, Susan! I just leave my dahlia tubers in the ground all year. I make sure they have a thin layer of leaf mulch over them in winter to protect them from frost. But our winters here are somewhat moderate.
      Slugs like to eat the new growth when it emerges in late spring, so I sprinkle Sluggo granules (which also kill earwigs) around the new growth – but only until it matures a bit. We also encourage birds, and they eat insects.
      But I live in Western Washington and, although we have earwigs, maybe they’re not as much of an issue here as they are in other areas.
      Your wind chime idea sounds fun. I will have to think about that one! Thanks for visiting.

  2. Hi Heidi
    Thanks for the tip.
    I live in New York on the south shore of Long Island.
    I think I just might try the Sluggo granules.
    I tried slug traps filled with beer, but that did not do the trick.
    Thanks so much!
    Best
    Susan

    1. You’re welcome, Susan. Hope it works for you. My only caution would be that I only use Sluggo granules – not Sluggo Plus or any Sluggo that is in a liquid form. Not sure what the truth or science is behind this, but I’ve read that Sluggo Plus and any liquid Sluggo is not as environmentally friendly. The granulated Sluggo works just fine for me. I only use it until while the dahlia plants are emerging in late spring/early summer, and that seems to be enough. Hope this helps.

  3. Such a great idea! Thanks so much for sharing at the To Grandma’s House We Go DIY, Crafts, Recipes and More Link Party! Pinned this! Hope to see you link up again this Wednesday!

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