Secretary of the Interior

A Blog from the Editor of St. Louis At Home

Thursday, December 13, 2012 / 12:00 AM

Diggin' the Dirt: Bamboo (Yahoo!) Talking to Alan Lorence of "It's Not Work, It's Gardening"

Diggin' the Dirt: Bamboo (Yahoo!) Talking to Alan Lorence of "It's Not Work, It's Gardening"

Alan Lorence has 48 different types of bamboo he is nurturing and maintaining in his back yard garden in St. Louis.


I knew I was in for a gardener’s treat when I pulled up to Alan Lorence’s house on a cold, blustery fall day for a garden tour of his landscape and an introduction to his bambo-filled garden. I had seen part of his presentation on bamboo at a Schlafly Garden Party and had “virtually experienced” his garden for a couple months via his extraordinary blog, It’s Not Work, It’s Gardening. (Alan recently celebrated his 1000th post.)

One of the artistic and thoughtful photos Alan takes every day for his gardening blog.

I have to give Alan some serious credit for being courageous in planting his many bamboo varieties straight into the ground, relying on seasonal labor maintenance techniques to control their spread. Bamboo is a fascinating and beautiful plant, which grows thicker and higher each year under optimal conditions. I had no idea that it doesn’t flower and go to seed every year. It rarely does this, and apparently chances are high it will die when it happens. Weird! Then that makes sense why it aggressively reproduces through its root system!

Here is Alan talking about the mystery and excitement of bamboo and the reasons he loves gardening with this plant:

Walking around Alan’s yard, my mind buzzed with hundreds of topics we could cover, given the time and inclination. But I had to focus on just one. Then, being the designer I am, my eye fell upon something that not only is well-designed and looks great in the landscape. This would be the Bamboo Box. It’s extremely practical for the person who wants all the benefits of bamboo without the hard work required to keep it from aggressively spreading. Here is Alan talking about how he constructed a Bamboo Box this past year.

Bamboo boxes look great in the landscape and are worry-free: you don't have to worry about rhizomes spreading.

Alan has generously provided detailed information on how to create Bamboo Boxes on his blog and this information can be easily accessed. I hope to build my first box this coming year and start my own beautiful stand of bamboo in my backyard. You can find more information on building bamboo boxes on Alan's blog here, here, and here.

Picture taken by Alan of his back yard in winter. You can clearly see where all the bamboo is by the vast amount of wispy green stands of plant material.

Gorgeous shot of Alan’s gorgeous garden showing one of his Bamboo Boxes with a happy stand of bamboo in it, mixed in with a myriad of ornamentals to create a lush, colorful, textural and vibrant back landscape.

When posting, please be respectful. Avoid profanity, offensive content, and/or sales pitches. reserves the right to remove any comments or to contact you if necessary.

Add your comment:


Subscribe to Secretary of the Interior posts in your favorite feed reader.




Recent Articles



Attorney Profiles

Attorney Profiles

Click here to view 2014 attorney profiles

2014 Wedding Guide

2014 Wedding Guide

Your source for all things bridal

Doctor Profiles

Doctor Profiles

Click here to view 2013 physician profiles

Dental Profiles

Dental Profiles

Click here to view 2014 dental profiles