I was in Gray, Tennessee, for the 4th and overnight, visiting my old friend Rob, who's having a coronary bypass next week. Years ago Rob planted bamboo in one corner of his large yard, which is mainly surrounded by fields and pastures. Rob has a science background and has been a gardener for as long as I've known him and is very knowledgeable about plants and all sorts of things. So I figured he knew what he was doing when he planted the bamboo, a couple of varieties from Steve Ray's Bamboo Farm somewhere in Alabama. The yard was large enough that Rob could set off 4th of July fireworks from a platform in the western corner and still have plenty of room for guests to sit on blankets on the grass, close enough to be dazzled but far enough to be safe. My visits to Gray were irregular over the years, as life went this way and that, and one year I discovered that Rob's modest planting had become a bamboo grove. You could wander among the towering plants, but there was still a view of the sunset over the fields.
This time I hadn't been over there for a few years and wasn't prepared for the bamboo forest which now dominates a large portion of that side of the yard. There's a small corner which still provides the long view, but otherwise it's panda heaven to the west. And the yard all the way to the deck is punctuated by bamboo stumps. It's sprouting up next to the deck and the path to the front. It's taken over a couple of raised beds, its roots driving out the other plants. When I asked Rob what he had THOUGHT would happen, he said, "I thought it would do like yours, and just stay in one place!" (My bamboo DID stay in place for years, because it was contained in its small area by the house and the low wall bordering the driveway.) I was briefly speechless. This is the man who once told me that if you ever plant mint you need to encase it in a concrete cell. He does have great orchids, one of which has been blooming for months. He's mostly pretty knowledgeable.
We had fireworks, too, one with the lovely name of -- Bamboo! He set them off right by the patio, and we found one giant cardboard bee the next morning when a breeze blew it down from the towering ash tree. And we also enjoyed everyone else's fireworks. Those folks over in Washington County love the 4th of July, and the evening sky was lit up all around us. In the morning I heard my first cicadas of the summer.
It's July, and no one knows where we're headed as a nation or a world. I'm adding a link to the sidebar for the 4th, 5th, 6th and on.