Borinda boliana OK so far

atash(8b)January 8, 2007

Seattle has had a horrible winter this year. We had an early freeze, down to about 22F, in November, and a lot of generally cold weather.

I think 15F is the usual hardiness target for my area. It has gotten that cold several times in my life. Back in 1955 it got close to zero at the airport and into the single digits in town.

Several growers are rating it to 10F. It is still uncommon enough that I don't know the lowest temperature it has been known to survive without being defoliated.

So far it has not looked even mildly stressed. I think it might be a winner for a potentially tall clumper for western Washington and Oregon. Mine is just a baby so I have no idea how tall it could get. Nurseries seem to be consistently reporting 30 feet and I've seen no reports of taller in the USA yet. I need to dig up a start and pot it, for propagation purposes.

I live a few miles from the Chinese Garden of Seattle (that no longer exists last time I was there--but I thought they were going to put it back). I think it would make a good plant to donate if I can talk the gardners into it.

My goal is a useful ornamental. I want it to look good, but also to provide me with poles for staking tomatoes and beans.

I should also think of donating some to neighbors. One of my neighbors likes exotic things but is prone to letting them get out of control. Clumping bamboos are easier to manage. My next-door neighbor also wants a bamboo for privacy. Fargesia gigantea might be a better fit but Borinda boliana would look splendid too.

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mike_marietta_sc_z8a(z8a upstate SC)

Mine has seen lows of 13 and 14F (on different winters) without damage. This is a very beautiful bamboo with an almost horsetail-like whorl of many branchlets at each mode. Its 10 feet high so far.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2007 at 6:37PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

In the past anything hardy to only 10F would get nailed most sites not on/near the waterfront. When I was in the rhododendron society in the 70s such were called California Specials or Tender, beyond the reach of those on the East Side.

The Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden near Federal Way has grown a nice Borinda. Don't know its current condition. Think this specimen has been shown on the Bamboo Garden (Portland, OR) web site.

B. fungosa fried recently on Camano Island, only the leaves at the tips of culms that bent down under the snow remaining fresh. It grew rapidly and quickly overwhelmed the nook it was stuck into, in front of a greenhouse where it was hoped heat escaping through the glass would help it.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2007 at 8:08PM
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Mike, hello, I think I know you from another life. You know me by my real name. Yes, it's a beautiful bamboo, I can tell even from my wee little seedling. Vigorous too.

bboy, I think it's possibly the hardiest of the Borindas. Perhaps the northernmost? Reputedly from Szechuan (I think it's been found in habitat) although it arrived by way of a Japanese garden.

I did see a "before" and "after" photograph of a Borinda that defoliated in Oregon after a bad winter--but leafed out nicely the following spring. Don't remember which species it was or how cold it had gotten.

>>When I was in the rhododendron society in the 70s such were called California Specials or Tender

Harold Greer flamed me royally for claiming that I have grown Rhododendron edgeworthii outdoors for many years in Seattle. Temps below 15F are rare this side of the lake and always have been, except in 1955 when they hit around 9F. I left the Yahoo Rhododendron list and never came back. I was tired of the constant arguments about the "correct" classification of various species that struck me as being arbitrary--and being called a liar was the straw that broke the camel's back.

I actually have a Rhododendron nuttallii outdoors. Not the best place for it but I have no choice as it has gotten too big to bring inside (and my house is too small anyway). Not recommended. I looks tired after the last freeze, but did survive.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2007 at 4:57AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

There was a couple that lived near the Fauntleroy ferry dock that grew tender rhododendrons as well. Right there by the Sound it was quite mild most of the time. He would bring trusses of things like 'Cornish Cross' to meetings, had an assortment of Edgeworthia and Maddenia rhododendrons going.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2007 at 1:57PM
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jskeyes2(Z10 San Diego)

I got a Borinda Boliana from Boo Shoot Gardens this year - one gallon size. I am curious how fast your has grown - trying to figure out what to expect for the next couple of years. Mine gets part sun / part shade where it is at.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2007 at 10:57AM
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On the North California coast(70 miles south of Oregon border) I planted a nice 7 gallon plant in a 30 gallon container and as soon as it shot the first time it was over 20 feet high. Definatly the fastest grower I have on the cool foggy coast, must remind it of it's china mountain home.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2007 at 9:03PM
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