It’s true. A good fence can go a long way to improving neighborly relations. Robert Frost used this 17th Century proverb, “good fences make good neighbors” in his poem Mending Wall, which describes his encounter with a neighbor at the stone wall that separated their properties.

I don’t have a stone wall. Instead, I have a cyclone fence and a wooden fence separating me from a few neighbors. And you know what? Sometimes fences of any kind are not enough.

And when that happens, the nearly miraculous plant known as Bambousa Oldhamii is my living fence of choice.

This bamboo, known simply as timber bamboo, can grow ten feet a year and reach a mature height of seventy feet. It’s really amazing to watch its horned sprouts break through the ground and within a few days stretch three or four feet in height. A week later, they’ll be so tall that you’ll be stretching your neck to see the top of them.

Good-bye ugly backyards and rooflines. Good-bye the neighbor’s bar-b-que weekends and noisy kids and pets. Good-bye umkempt lawns and tawdry patio furniture.

Hello to a fence of green wonder!


My Oldhamii has been in the ground now for about a year and half. It’s uniformly twenty-five feet tall. I trim the tops at that level and the dear plant simply weaves horizontally even tighter its verdant curtain.


And because it’s a “clumper” bamboo and not a “runner” (techy plant terms you can Google), Oldhamii is easy to control from spreading where you do not want it to go.

But right now, as I stand on my deck in the early morning and see the glistening stalks and shimmering leaves of this proud bamboo, I do not think of trimming it, I do not think of stunting it, or restraining its growth in anyway.

Instead, I think again of Robert Frost, and say softly to the morning breeze…good fences make good neighbors.


2 Responses to Good Fences Make Good Neighbors – Bambusa Oldhamii

  1. Anonymous says:

    Amazing! A clumper ugh? Wait until the sloths and howler monkeys learn of this!!! Mary E.

  2. George says:

    Maybe a block to that wonderful school we look at!

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