I’ve escaped across town with my sister for a stay at the Wild Palms Hotel. We’re attending an annual scrap-booking retreat, a cool 48 hours dedicated to the pursuit of our craft. The Wild Palms Hotel is a small inn in the middle of the suburbs. The facade is nondescript, but the inner courtyard and pool are surrounded by towering bamboo. I’m sure there are “wild palms” somewhere around here, but it’s the bamboo that dominates.
Bamboo is an amazing plant, capable of growing at rates of 100 cm (39 in) in 24 hours. It’s considered the fastest growing plant on earth. This tall, graceful grass can be made into paper, clothing, furniture and building material. Bamboo leaves and shoots nourish the giant pandas of China and the bamboo lemurs of Madagascar.
When we remodeled our home seven years ago, we replaced the carpet with bamboo. The floors are as solid as the hardest wood, but unlike oak or maple, bamboo grows like a weed. Conversely, one of the softest dresses I own is also bamboo.
It’s dark now, but come morning I’ll be able to glance out the window at the towering bamboo. I’ll pretend a gentle panda is nibbling on the leaves, just around the corner out of view.