Nosy neighbours fuel a bamboo renaissance

Most of specialist nursery Jungle Flora Bamboos customers live in the increasingly dense residential areas of our towns and cities, and want bamboo for its fast-growing screening capabilities hence the nurserys tagline, No More Neighbours.
The nursery grows only seven clumping not running species, occasionally phasing out less popular species and adding new ones with better potential.

Some are grown in the field, others in pots.

SALLY TAGG/NZ GARDENER/Stuff
Carolyn showing the Green Goddess hedge in the new bamboo display garden.

Nursery owner Carolyn Melling finds social media such as Pinterest and Instagram to be amazing sites for inspiration.


Australia is way ahead of New Zealand in using bamboo in city gardens and small courtyards. Many of the creative ideas you see online come from whats happening in Australia.

New Zealand has had a fear of bamboo because of the running types used in the past that have created the nightmare stories we hear about. People are now realising that there are non-invasive types that clump rather than run.

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SALLY TAGG/NZ GARDENER/Stuff
Carolyn in the nursery.

The growing Asian population in this country also has huge respect for the beauty and usefulness of bamboo. A combination of tight housing, no privacy and a need for green space has meant that the demand for bamboo plants is growing as fast as the plant itself.

For those who are interested in bamboo for the many other wonderful uses, Melling suggests joining the Bamboo Society.

Melling grew up at Landsendt, the lush subtropical garden where her plant nursery is now based. The garden was created by her father, renowned nurseryman and plant enthusiast Dick Endt, and her mother Annemarie, on the fringes of west Auckland.

SALLY TAGG/NZ GARDENER/Stuff
The Landsendt office in front of the moso bamboo (Phyllostachys edulis).

Working with plants is something she has done from a young age. As kids, we worked every holiday picking or packing fruit. It wasnt an option. We learned a few business skills along the way.

I was a teenager when my parents South American journeys began. At 17, I travelled alone to Ecuador as Mum and Dad thought I should learn Spanish. I learnt a lot about life in six months but not much Spanish and nothing about plants.

Mellings interest in plants actually came a bit later, when I left home and lived with my new husband and baby at my grandmother Anne Endts place nearby. She had a wonderful heritage rose garden. She taught me how to garden and it became an obsession.

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