September 2008 - Southern Califo

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September 2008 - Southern Califo Powered By Docstoc
					                                   Southern California Bamboo
             The newsletter of the Southern California Chapter of the American Bamboo Society.
       A California 501 (c) (3) non-profit educational charitable corporation, incorporated July 22, 1991
                                 Chapter Web site:

Volume 18, No. 2                                                                              September, 2008
                                                             at One Barnard Drive, Oceanside, CA 92056. This
Resignation of ABS-SoCal President                           sale’s schedule is as follows:
        ABS-SoCal President Carl Rowland has
resigned effective August 4, 2008. Carl is pursuing          6:00 am Set up at Parking Lot E
a new job opportunity. Thank you Carl for your               9:00 am Preview of bamboo plants
work on the Web site and for strengthening ties              10:30 am Rare bamboo auction
between ABS-SoCal and the San Diego Zoo. Vice                11:00 am Sale opens
President Cliff Sussman MD is our acting president           2:00 pm Sale closes
until the selection of officers at the September 2008        Post 2:00 pm Clean up
board meeting.
                                                             Board Meeting Agenda
Elections                                                       1. Old business
        Two positions are open for Alternate                    2. Ballot counting
Director as they are on an annual basis per the ABS-            3. Officer selection
SoCal bylaws. Theo Smith, a former ABS-SoCal                    4. Treasurer’s report
President is a candidate for one of the Alternate               5. Discussion of future of reference collection
Director positions. Also, the directorship of Roy               at QBG
Wiersma expires in September. Roy is running                    6. 2009 Calender determination
again for Director. Please see the detachable ballot            7. Travel grant for ABS national convention to
for more information. If the ballot is mailed in it is          chapter representative
to be received by Friday, September 19, 2008.
Otherwise ballots may be submitted in person                 Cure for the new bamboo mealybug?
before the board meeting starts on September 20,             by Roy Wiersma
2008, at Quail Botanical Gardens to officials in                     I was alerted to an excellent article in The
ABS-SoCal.                                                   Cycad Newsletter [30(4) December 2007] called
                                                             “Coffee, Cycad’s New Best Friend?” by Tom
Fall Bamboo Sales                                            Broome. The article is basically about the Asian
        Two sales are planned for this fall. The first       scale or CAS (cycad aulacaspis scale) which is
will be a Bamboo Reference Collection sale on                killing off species of cycads and the use of
September 20, 2008, at the Reference Collection at           Starbucks coffee grounds to cure the plants of this
Quail Botanical Gardens, 230 Quail Gardens Drive,            problem and other infestations of bugs such as
Encinitas, CA. It will start at 12:00 noon and last          mealybugs and aphids. Although the primary
until 2:00 pm. However, before the sale starts there         application method is that of mulching plants with
will be a work party to clean-up several stands of           the coffee grounds, several figures show how to
bamboo at Quail B. G. beginning at 10:00 am. The             make “sun coffee” to be used as a foliar applicant.
board meeting will begin at 2:00 pm.                         Tom mentions in his article Bambusa species
        The second sale will be held on October 25,          growing in 25-gallon pots when mulched with
2008 in parking lot E at Mira Costa College located          coffee grounds were clean of [presumably common]

mealybug in 3 weeks. The bamboo mealybug                   thunderbolt of greenish blue flashed. This ‘cold
(Palmicultor lumpurensis) has forced ABS-SoCal to          light’ was so brilliant that the spectators seemed to
shut down its semi-annual sales at Quail Botanical         be enveloped by it.”
Gardens in order to protect their bamboos from this
pest which are sometimes used to feed the pandas at        Snakes Identified
the San Diego Zoo. If anyone who has an                           The two snakes featured in the July 2008
infestation of the new bamboo mealybug and has             newsletter have been identified as gopher snakes
time to try the coffee grounds method of                   (Pitophis melanoleucus). Thank you to all who
eradication, we at ABS-SoCal would be grateful to          responded.
hear about it and feature the results in the
newsletter.                                                Bamboo treasure
                                                           by Bob Verkade
More organic bug control information                       July 10, 2008
by Roy Wiersma
        Christian Lydick, a former ABS-SoCal Vice          Editor’s note: Bob’s family once dealt extensively
President has observed that an application of well-        in Tonkin cane formerly known botanically as
composted manure (60% beef, 40% chicken) when              Arundinaria amabilis and now is known as
piled up at the base of his Bambusa plants rids his        Pseudosasa amabilis. Bob volunteers at Quail
plants of noxious scale. Maybe this manure method          Botanical Gardens and has helped considerably
works effectively against the bamboo mealybug as           with the ABS-SoCal bamboo reference collection.
well.                                                      Here is his family’s story.

Earthquake in Southern California                                  Early in the days of European exploration,
        A magnitude 5.4 earthquake struck Chino            open ocean sailing was very risky business and
Hills, California on July 29, 2008 virtually               could only be accomplished by wealthy
underneath the property of ABS-SoCal member Jim            governments backed by rich investors sending the
Rehor. It is reported that Jim who runs Rainforest         most capable officers and ablest crews, using the
Bamboos is O.K.                                            stoutest sailing ships available, with either
                                                           Portuguese or Dutch navigators to lead the way
Bamboos in Vietnam                                         though largely unknown regions. The two schools
        A write-up complete with pictures of               of navigation were secret societies with limited
species of Vietnamese, Cambodian, Thai, and                access for training and no dispersal of information
Laotian bamboos: Vietnamosasa ciliata, V.                  outside the closed societies on how to navigate,
darlacensis, and V. pusilla is featured on the Web         make maps or find locations of desired trading
site:                               places. The center for navigation, shipbuilding and
                                                           ocean commerce in Holland, along the large natural
Australian Aboriginal Bamboo Light Maker                   wetland delta area where rivers flowing north from
by Roy Wiersma                                             Europe meet the sea, is where my father’s forebears
        Ed Read’s article about fire-starting with         originated.
bamboo in our July 2008 newsletter reminded me of                  The town of Boskoop, on the North Sea
something I read relating to bamboo in Dead Men’s          midway between Amsterdam and Rotterdam is
Secrets by Jonathan Gray. It is found on page 272          along the long series of protected harbors and the
under the title Australia, “Only a few decades ago,        lively estuaries for the rivers running from Germany
three ‘booyas’ (round stones set in a large bamboo         and other countries into the North and Baltic Seas.
socket) existed in the Torres Strait Islands. When a       Everyone from Boskoop has been associated with
chief pointed the round stone toward the sky, a            the sea as navigators, ship officers or were

nurserymen propagating and marketing plants and              no trees or commodities, and with a pregnant wife,
trading plants, commodities and fibers. Boskoop              Florine who spoke only Dutch and a young Aunt
has been the center for horticulture for centuries and       Annie their 2 year old daughter. Henry had been
is the home for the Royal Horticultural College.             separated from his father and older brother who
My family have been nurserymen, ships officers               were left in Holland with the shambles of an
and traders since 1200, all headquartered in                 international horticultural and trading enterprise
Holland, mostly in or close to Boskoop, but with             during the outbreak of world war. Florine had left
business interest all over the world. They were no           her parents and more than a dozen siblings in
strangers to exploration and trade in the Orient,            Boskoop, they all also were horticulturists, dealing
Africa, Caribbean, Europe and elsewhere. Plants,             with being in the nursery businesses and having
goods, agricultural products and supplies,                   their entire fortunes collapse as the years shipments
commodities and many other goods and objects of              of horticultural products rotted in the humid airless
wealth were traded by them as a means of                     holds of ships and the fields of plants under
livelihood.                                                  cultivation were depressed by lack of economic
         Both of my great-grandfathers on my Dad’s           market and loss of field hand and trained labor as a
side, and their wives were from Boskoop and grew             result of pressing able bodied persons into military
up and were educated in the nursery business and             duty. Available greenhouse space and cold frame
were traders. I knew three of them very well as a            areas were quickly transformed into facilities to
young man since they lived to be 105 to 108 years            grow food for a hungry Europe.
(still actively growing rare evergreen trees that took       All the relatives on the European side of the
as long as 25 years to reach the smallest salable            Atlantic, held close by family ties, tradition and
size). This generation was born in the 1840’s and            business interests, were cut off by the war. The
1850’s. They believed in education and exploration,          European side of the family, the ones who during
so young seamen and nurserymen were trained in               the early war days, were well established
science and sent to round their knowledge by travel          internationally in business and trade, and had over
to other lands and working as journeymen in other            centuries had amassed considerable property and
places to learn the skills available there before            wealth, particularly over the past several decades
becoming fully proficient at their trades. My                from trading and sales to Africa, Australia and
grandfather was educated in Boskoop, then Den                America, could not help the part of the family
Haag [The Hague], European nurseries and then as             stranded in America, since communications and
a journeyman apprenticed as part of this tradition at        normal business and financial transactions with
Kew Gardens (the British Royal College, now home             Europe were cut by the war and they all were going
of the Fulbright scholars) while a young man in the          through major economic and political hardships as
later 1800’s and was sent to many different                  the war in Europe grew. They could not even send
countries as part of his education. All the while he         letters or goods to them because of the German
was an agent as well as partner in pursuit of his            blockade of the ports. What plants did not get
father’s businesses. He ended up being marooned              ruined, by sitting in the holds of ships, waiting to be
here in the U.S. at the turn of the century while the        sent in response to the many plush orders, during
First World War broke out. He had been acting as             then horticultural heydays of the turn of the century;
agent for the family businesses and shiploads of             and, due to the Atlantic blockade, even where there
plants, horticultural products and commodities got           were still willing buyers, shipments could not be
quarantined at the European and British harbors as           made from Europe, to Britain, Africa, Australia and
the U-boats started to torpedo civilian cargo ships.         abroad to America and beyond, could not be sold in
         New London, Connecticut, 1910s.                     Holland, Britain or Europe as these markets quickly
Grandfather Verkade, Hendrake, Henry or Pop to               disappeared and the fortunes of the European side
all who knew him later, was stuck with no money,             of the family dwindled as the war expanded and

men were pressed into military and other essential            horticultural and trading talents. He kept all the
government service.                                           clippings of plants and all the seed, bulbs and
        So it was a matter of necessity for Henry             berries he could get. He had some plant and seed
and his young family to start anew in the somewhat            samples he had brought with him as examples of
strange land they had been travelers in. His first            stock that could be acquired from his family firm in
attempt was at hard labor on a pick and shovel crew           Holland. These he propagated and re-propagated
building facilities for the new Naval Submarine               expanding geometrically. Within a short time he
Base located across the Thames River from New                 had perennials and shrubs for sale and had the starts
London. Two of the crew were killed that day by               of many evergreen and deciduous plants growing
untrained workers wielding picks in close quarters;           under glass in his colds frames. In the summer he
Henry decided this was not what his life was meant            propagated everything he could from softwood
to be. The next day he set off early in search of             cuttings. In fall he struck hardwood cuttings. In
something where he might use his skills and                   winter and spring he grafted scions onto potted
training in making a living for his family, he came           rootstock plants and carefully placed them in cold
upon an estate belonging to one of the developers of          frames. He collected shrub and tree seeds, curing
the submarines and arranged with the lady of the              and culturing them to sprout and grow. He hired
home for him to trim some of her shrubs and                   other workers and trained them to assist in
evergreens and to do some related gardening work.             horticultural work and began to sell plants at both
He befriended the woman and by the end of the day             wholesale and retail levels. Things went well. As it
she paid him for his efforts and loaned him funds to          turns out, things were better in America during this
buy a wheelbarrow, shears, spade shovel and hoe so            period of economic expansion than they were in
that he might proceed into business for himself.              Europe where war was taking place and markets
With his knowledge, training and equipment he was             were in a downturn. Within five years, Henry and
well poised to take on this new country. Each day             Florine had been industrious and frugal enough to
he would work the streets of the more affluent                buy land, build greenhouses and start a nursery,
neighborhoods, gardening for folks and establishing           have the next several children there to be seven
a network of friends and supporters.                          living children, build a new home, travel back to
        He rented a small older home and set up               Europe and manage to bring all the relatives (more
cold frames all over the yard. All over except for            than two dozen adults…each couple with several
the clothes drying area reserved for Florine to dry           children accompanied), initially back to America
her and other people’s laundry and care for the kids          with them and to set them up with housing,
and make sure they got fresh air and sun. There               furniture food and essentials and to teach them to
were now two children with the addition of my                 speak English while they worked at expanding the
father, Johnny. They also started a vegetable and             beginnings of their horticultural empire.
fruit garden and raised chickens for the eggs, meat                    However, Henry’s relations with his brother,
and manure for the cold frames. Everything was                my great uncle John, and their parents (the nest and
bought wholesale in bulk and parted out to be sold            support group wherein he had grown as a boy and
to others as well as to provide their supplies. All the       young man) were strained due to his venturing out
food was made from scratch with no luxury for                 on his own and, while they emigrated with his
store bought or restaurant goodies. Henry insisted            assistance, Uncle John and his parents and his
they all speak English so they would be better able           children started a parallel horticultural business
to assimilate into and conduct business and trade in          headquartered in New Jersey. Henry was more
the new country. If Florine wanted something, she             alone then when stranded by the war; all through
had to learn how to discuss it in English.                    life there existed a brotherly completion between
        Each day he would work out for home                   Henry and Uncle John and some very pronounced
owners, estates and others in need of his                     differences in philosophy developed in them. These

differences led Uncle John to tend to do larger scale         (many of whom were the ship captains, navigators
ventures and mass produce and travel widely selling           or officers), propagators and plant merchants from
rooted cuttings and pot grafts, while Henry                   this area of Holland between Amsterdam and
preferred to grow fewer but higher quality liners             Rotterdam. There were times when particular
and salable stock. They visited frequently and                plants were in vogue and these became very
shared views on the horticultural businesses, world           valuable. For instance a “tulip” craze in the early
trade and their special brand of politics.                    part of the 1600’s when tulips were first hybridized
Meanwhile, Henry became firmly tied to all his in-            from species tulips from Turkey and Persia some
laws who began working in his enterprises; all                natural mutation or disease caused stress left hybrid
respected and sometimes feared Pop’s abilities and            striped or broken flowered tulips to be as valuable
higher levels of learning, economic status, coupled           as jewels and subject to theft and intrigue and the
with a somewhat quick temper. Gradually there                 search for a black flowered tulip to continue for
more than a dozen nursery and plant propagation               centuries.
facilities within wheelbarrow walking distance of                      The quest for sugar, chocolate, coffee, tea,
Pop’s home place. Satellite nurseries and growing             spices as well as new agricultural crops kept the
areas extended through the eastern states.                    early Dutch traders well occupied and made their
 Uncle John became a world renowned hunter and                navy one of the strongest and most able. Alliances
sport fisherman and traveled the world exploring for          followed economic and religious grounds with
new plants and importing them for production in               Holland becoming entwined in both Spanish and
Europe and America. It was through these travels              British affairs and both Catholic and Protestant
that he set up organizations to grow seed for                 religions. Both Britain and Holland became
ornamentals in seed plantations, rubber, hemp, jute           horticultural centers with much Dutch blood, the
and other agricultural commodities. The two                   English nobility seeking alliance with Holland for
brothers were at times very fortunate in being able           their strong navy and expanding colonial interests,
to lock up enough grower and trader rights to                 arranging for the future British King to take the
futures to capture or corner world markets in scarce          Dutch Princess as his wife. Fortunately, for us of
commodities. In one case they had cornered the                the horticultural ilk, the king was not much into the
rights to the major portion of hemp production used           life at court and preferred to be away and dwell on
for baler twine for hay and straw and for making              architecture and horticulture. His Queen was
high quality manila rope so important in shipping             homesick for Holland and he had a Royal Palace
and other industrial applications prior to plastics           and Gardens built for them in the Dutch tradition.
becoming available. They so controlled supplies               This fueled a nationwide rage toward gardens and
that Britain and America became concerned during              architecture in the Dutch Renaissance styles. The
the lead up to mobilization to World War Two that             Dutch and Flemish style of renaissance painting
they enticed them to make ample supplies available            became popular in Britain, largely due to the
for both countries defense. They likewise obtained            Queen’s taste and origins. Bamboo became popular
rights to most of the high quality bamboo and rattan          as frame materials for still life and floral paintings
coming from the Orient and had it shipped and                 of the period and furniture styled on an oriental
stored in western warehouses prior to the China               theme. Furniture made of bamboo or woods treated
coast being closed to western trading in the 1930’s.          to look like bamboo were popular, and continues to
These supplies lasted well into the 1970’s when               be popular in some art and interior design circles
with President Nixon’s overtures to China trade               today.
again began to open up.                                                It also set up Kew as the Royal Residence,
         Through the centuries, a lot of the cultivated       small and more human in scale than the other great
plants in America, Britain, Europe and other                  British palaces, sited in the middle of the Kew
locations can be traced to early plant explorers              Royal Gardens. Kew became the Royal

Horticultural College with the same kind of royal           builders of empires were jealously seeking valuable
interest that Henry VIII and Elizabeth R had earlier        plants and products such as sugar, rum, gin and
lavished on Oxford and Cambridge for other arts,            other spirits, and food crops to cheaply and
sciences and humanities. The plant collections at           effectively feed field hands and workers of the
Kew kept pace with the British and other national           ranches, farms and factories. Bamboo was used as a
exploration and colonization efforts round the              staking material in the nursery and also for a shade
world. Kew was the center for British horticultural         covering for cold frame propagation houses and to
research and a very important factor in their               shade seedbeds and to stake newly propagated trees
colonial empire. Many agricultural crops, fruits and        up to the time they were five to ten years old and
vegetables owe their start to efforts at Kew. Kew           ready to be planted in rows in a field to be grown
also kept an herbarium with original reference              another three to ten years to be “salable size” and
collections for the plants discovered during the wide       sold wholesale to nurseries. Short bamboo stakes
scale British explorations. Live samples of plants          were used to support pot plants including forced
from throughout the empire were kept in royal plant         pots of tulip and, hyacinths and daffodils. Larger
collections, many in climate controlled devices             stakes supported vines and specimen flowers such
including the Victorian era greenhouses still in use        as exhibition blooms and cascade forms of
today. Master Gardeners, Horticulturists and                chrysanthemum. Long straight bamboo canes were
Fulbright scholars continue to use both Royal               historically used to stake the young shade trees in
facilities at Kew and Boskoop as part of their              the nurseries so they would grow to have the
training and education.                                     straight clear trunks prized for park and specimen
         With the opening of relations and trade with       landscape lawn trees. The long canes were also
China and Japan plants from these countries and             popular with nut tree growers to help knock down
gardens using these plants became very popular,             the ripened nuts from the trees during harvest.
and art, architecture and furnishings and ceramics          Bamboo’s relatively low cost, wide availability and
followed Asian influences. Bamboo, wisterias,               low weight to structural strength ratio and its
rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias (including the            durability for wet and outdoor conditions made it a
species used to produce tea), and many other plants         preferred material for widespread use in many areas
including many miniature and unusual “specimen”             of horticultural production.
plants were brought back from expeditions to the                    Bamboo plants and timbers for buildings
Orient…typically not important which part of the            and features were popular additions to “Oriental
Orient, since it all was so new, strange and far            Gardens“ that became popular in Britain after trade
away. Anything east of India would be considered            with China, Japan, and other locations in Southeast
“The Orient” from Australia north to the tip of             Asia began. Within Asia, India and Africa, timber
Russia. There were many other countries along the           bamboos were used as a primary construction
oriental trade routes, Borneo, Burma, Formosa               material for staging and building product. Loads
(Taiwan), India, Sumatra, Africa, Tasmania,                 were rafted down interior streams and shipped from
Indonesia, Indochina, the West Indies, Thailand,            remote coastal areas to locations where construction
Burma and all these also contributed their plants           was taking place but had no close-by sources of the
and plant products, including bamboo to the                 bamboo suited to these uses. Bamboo was also a
European and American trade.                                stable fiber and non reactive that could be used in
         Plant fibers including hemp for rope so            scientific applications as well as in composite
important in rigging ships, jute for burlap and             construction of veneer furniture, frames for art, and
backing for textiles and tapestries, silk for fine          sporting goods.
cloths, cotton for cloth, canvas for sails and other                Types of fishing poles included the narrow
uses, and other products were prime commodities             long 12 feet and over one piece ones for tipping fish
for trade as were spices and foodstuffs. Planters and       out of the creeks and ponds in the south of the U.S.

and extending up to the larger diameter stout poles           ships carrying the best furniture quality lumber and
for flipping large tuna into the boats of commercial          bamboo as well as other trade goods.
ocean cannery fishermen. From the 1800’s to the               The best areas then known for the finest cane
1970’s, bamboo was the most desired material for              (bamboo) for these delicate objects was located
construction of sport fishing poles. Sport fishing            right where these nations fumed towards each other
was a noble sport in Europe with deeded rights to             whilst they attempted to dominate the native
streams and areas of coastal fishing grounds being            cultures or to co-op with them to promote their
tightly controlled and patrolled with weapons used            trading and colonial interests. My family traded in
by hired game wardens to shoot poachers and ask               goods including bamboo there and bought much of
questions later. Fine lightweight poles of split (split       the available supply of top quality Tonkin cane and
with a cleaver rather than sawn with a saw)                   warehoused it in the U. S.
bamboo, with wedges of tapered diameters being                        As for current family interest in bamboo,
interlocked into hollow lightweight, supple shafts,           there are a few "plant nuts" who grow bamboo as
wound and bound with costly silks and set with                landscape plants but no new commercial uses that I
silver or plated metal ferrules were both the tool of         am aware of now. My younger brother is looking
the pampered fisherman, aristocrat or nobleman,               for small scale bamboo that would do well in
and the sign of his or her station in life. Steelhead,        central Florida for use in landscapes where lot sizes
trout and salmon were the preferred sport for inland          are shrinking and home sizes are expanding. He
anglers equipped with the special bamboo poles.               grows most of the plants that he uses in his
The fine supple fibers from the bamboo from the               landscape business. He is interested in what we are
edge of the Tonkin Gulf, located on the northern              doing here in California for potential use there.
portion of Indochina (now Vietnam) and into mid-
China was the most sought after. Sought-after but             Bamboo Shoot Pictures
hard to get, since the region was a cauldron of               Photographs supplied by Cliff Sussman
international strife and competing economic
interests from Britain, Spain, Portugal, France,
China, Japan, Korea and other regions. Portugal
had successfully established trade and
transshipment centers at Goa of India, and Macao in
China in competition with the British who
controlled most of India and set up the trading
colony of Hong Kong. Meanwhile the French were
firmly entrenched in Africa, and Indochina, the
large region south of China and Japan, as well as
many of the ocean island groups. The American
Naval fleet with Admiral Perry and others as well as
a fast and strong fleet of merchant ships was
establishing strong trading and military relations
throughout the area. The famous sugar-rum-opium-
slave-silk routes tied the Caribbean lands with
Africa, Europe and the Orient with a network of
super fast ships captained by capable crew from the
trading ports of America avoiding blockades and
capture at sea and wending through, around and                Figure 1 Bambusa arnhemica
among the strong outposts of the other nations,

Figure 2 Bambusa balcooa

                                                Figure 4 Bambusa polymorpha

Figure 3 Bambusa balcooa culm leaf detail       Figure 5 Bambusa tulda striata

                                                        Figure 6 Unusual semi-helical spiraling in Phyllostachys
                                                        dulcis . July 2008. Photo by R. Wiersma.

Chapter Officers of the Southern California Chapter of the American Bamboo Society

Director                   Carl Rowland to ’09         (619)507-0826
Director, Vice President   Cliff Sussman to ’10        (909)599-9921
Director, Treasurer,
                           Roy Wiersma to ’08          (909)980-1740
Newsletter Editor
Director, Secretary        Pierre Domercq to ’09       (760)434-3330
Director                   Mike Mullert to ’09         (619)465-4690
Alternate Director         Vacant
Alternate Director         Jill Thorburn to’08         (760)535-2998
Chapter Rep.               Cliff Sussman to ’08        (909)599-9921

The Southern California Chapter of the
American Bamboo Society, Inc.
230 Quail Gardens Dr.
Encinitas, CA 92024

Note: This newsletter is available in PDF format at the ABS-SoCal Web site: – In Color!

                         Application for membership in: The American Bamboo Society
                      and the Southern California Chapter of the American Bamboo Society

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