This is one of the most exciting new Fargesia introductions from China, by European bamboo horticulturist, Jos van der Palen, of Kimmei Nursery in Holland.
F. demissa 'Gerry' is the most interesting and beautiful of several bamboo specimens that were sent to Jos from Gansu, China. Thought to be the northern-most Fargesia species ever collected, Fargesia demissa has proven to be among the most cold hardy of any clumping bamboo. Its characteristics are most similar to Fargesia nitida, but it has distinct differences. The colorful canes are thicker in diameter in relation to its height, and have longer rhizome necks. This gives it a more "open" appearance, like a miniature grove, rather than a hedge. The overall stature of this bamboo is more upright by nature than most other Fargesia. The culms have a gorgeous pastel blue to deep purple and in some cases almost black color, which changes slightly with the seasonal fluctuations in temperature. Like F. nitida, it looses about 30% of its leaves in the winter. The leaves curl in strong sunlight for protection, but otherwise have a lush blue/green color and airy arrangement.
Based on notes from original collections, we also believe F. demissa to a be new generation of seedlings, meaning that flowering is unlikely for several decades. There are several other forms of F. demissa that were imported by Jos at the same time which have different colors and characteristics, but none as striking as F. demissa 'Gerry'. Jos affectionately named the new cultivar after his wife, Gerry.
In 2013, Bamboo Garden, in conjunction with the American Bamboo Society, imported this new clumping bamboo into the United States with a USDA import permit. Kept under quarantine at the USDA APHIS station for two years, the new introduction was first available to the public as Bamboo Garden donated the first division to the American Bamboo Society Rare Plant Auction.