Does torture by bamboo, where a man is tied to the ground and bamboo grows into him, really work? You’d have thought that the total exclusion of light would stop the plant growing, and my guess is that this form of torture is more the stuff of fiction than history. But there are other forms of torture by bamboo, as everyone who has planted a clump, only to see it take over their garden, will know. The second form is the torture of trying to remove it. Bamboo is tenacious stuff, and you have to be very strong indeed to dig it out.
Our land at Itoshima was well and truly tortured by bamboo when we took it over. The bamboo was so dense that nothing else would grow. The first three months were spent digging it out, mainly by Matt’s stalwart bunch of Workaway volunteers. Then the bamboo came in useful. Chris, with his usual creative flair, used it to make a decorative fence round the vegetable garden. These four photos show how bamboo ceased to be an intruder and became our friend.