Japanese artists as well as Chinese have repeatedly found inspiration in the study of the bamboo plant. Hiroshigi, among the best of the landscape artists of Japan, founder of many of the best-known wood-block prints, has immortalized it in his picture of bamboos in a typhoon. Coolies running down the green hillside; chair-bearers bowing before the wind; long lines of grey rain and the slender dark wind-tossed stems lightly dancing before the gale! He who would see these graceful grasses in their best must pay a visit to a mountain grove on a windy spring afternoon. They whirl and influence like dancers that have abandoned themselves into a frenzied rhythm. Light flashes from each smooth leaf as from a mirror until the mountain seems coated with a twinkling sheen of silver.
On such times they have the charm of”beauty half-revealed.” Every smooth stem shines as if polished; each leaf is tipped with a globule of water until a passing breeze sends a tiny shower in all directions.
The most amazing thing about bamboo is its way of growth. The new spikes push their way through the clods and appear among the old culms like dozens of bayonets, well coated with dark-brown mottled sheaths. No joints are visible at first; nothing but bristling points, aggressive and ready to race with competitors for a spot in the sun. Nodes soon appear and as the stems lengthen the downy sheaths drop off, leaving the green culms coated with white bloom like the bloom of a peach.
Being curious to know precisely how quickly the shoots really grew, I appointed myself when the spikes seemed. Each day at noon I measured certain ones to find out what progress was made in twenty-four hours. The favorite stood close to the garden wall. When first measured it had been eleven inches high. Forty-eight hours later it touched the pole in the twenty-seven inch mark. When nine days old it reached a height of seven feet, its average growth per day for six days being over nine inches. At this time it was at its ugly duckling stage, for the pointed sheaths reminded one of the pinfeathers of young birds. The green leaves soon burst out, however, and the plant became a soft plume.