Our love for the fastest growing woody plant on earth has led us to be very avid bamboo enthusiasts since 1975; collecting, planting, and propagating rare bamboos. We have met many wonderful people all over the world that share our enthusiasm for bamboo and hope to bring some to you as well!
Dr. Darwin Nelson (doctor of Psychology) always had a love for nature and was always interested in bamboo. In 1990, Darwin acquired a few acres of land in George West, TX along the Nueces River. He was very interested in planting many varieties of bamboo to help with erosion control along the river as well as beatifying the landscape. At this time, clumping bamboos were very rare in the nursery trade and not many people could get them. After acquirring several running species, Darwin was able to find some clumping varieties such as Punting Pole Bamboo (Bambusa tuldoides), Bambusa ventricosa (Buddha's Belly Bamboo) and a few others.
The property was developing quickly and the bamboos were growing great. The bamboo grew very well, attracting bamboo enthusiasts from all over to attend several "Spring Fling" festivals. In 2002, the Nueces river flooded and the property was completely submerged underwater for for nearly 6 weeks. Most of the bamboos were under 12ft or more of water. After the water subsided, most of the running species did not survive. However, the clumping species pulled through with flying colors, aside from dropping some leaves. Clumping bamboos had proven to be winners for us, so we had to find more of them. New species introductions from China were just becoming available in Florida and we obtained and introduced them in our area of Texas.
Darwin planted a tropical bamboo garden in Bayside, TX. This garden was much closer to his home in Corpus Christi and could focus on the clumping bamboos. "Bayside Tropical Bamboo Garden" was born. The garden features many tropical clumping bamboos and is located next door to "Copano Bay Growers", a local nursery featuring tropical plants for South Texas.
Meanwhile in Houston, John's suburban back yard was over run with containers of bamboo! John propagated clumping bamboo when he had time off from high school band directing. In 2005, John and his wife, Wendy, moved their family to Hockley, TX (Northwest Houston), building a home on 6 acres. The "Nelson Bamboo Farm" was born. Here, we planted over 100 species of bamboo (many new to TX). Since 2006, the bamboos we have planted have taught us what types are best suited for our area. The fun has just started as we develop this property. We hope the display garden and nursery will be exciting place for visitors to come and learn about the usefulness and beauty of bamboo.
We believe that bamboo is an underplanted feature in the Texas landscape and the more people that learn about it, the more it will turn up everywhere! In addition to specimen planting in the landscape, we believe bamboo performs the best natural privacy screen available in nature. Our bamboo activities spawn well beyond our internet nursery. We container grow huge specimen plants for landscaping purposes. We offer consulting with industrial uses of bamboo including phytoremediation, and are working with partners to make large scale plantation use of bamboo a reality in Texas. This includes: shoot production, biomass material, production of ethanol, and a source to produce paper, etc. For more photos and history, see our timeline on our Facebook page.