Our first bamboo was "discovered" in 1990", while on a walk along a rural road. Noticing something growing up through a pile of leaves and limbs discarded at a turnout, I discovered a small bamboo plant struggling to survive. Naturally, I dug it out and hauled it home.
That first bamboo lived in a small bonsai pot for 2 years, before I decided to plant it in the ground in our yard. Watching the bamboo grow, and reading as much as I could on bamboos, created a passion for collecting other species.
A short time latter, I discovered a local person who was growing Japanese Timber bamboo, and bought a start of that from him. Our bamboo collection consisted of those two plants for a couple more years, until we took a garden tour in the local area, and discovered a small bamboo nursery. Upon talking to the owners, I found out they had two of the species I had on my wish list, potted, and ready to go! How convenient! I hauled home those two specimens, a Phyllostachys bambusoides 'Castillon', and what was supposed to be a Phyllostachys aureosulcata 'Spectabalis' (nearly 10 years later a friend, and bamboophile in the making innocently pointed out my grove looked different than the pictures she had seen... and I realized I actually had Phyllostachys aureosulcata 'Aureocaulis')
I managed to collect a few other odds and ends from friends who had bamboo, but had pretty much settled in and was letting my plants grow up to groves on the 11 acre farm we purchased. A couple years after moving, I ended up with a random email from a guy who was new to bamboo, and we started talking via phone. His excitement, and meeting with him and seeing the plants he was purchasing re inspired my latent bamboo collecting fanaticism, and I began to dream of having a world class bamboo collection. I began collecting plants in earnest. Currently, we have close to 200 species in the collection, and many, many more on our "wish list". Our biggest thanks go to the special bamboo friends who have made this possible: Ned Jaquith, Gaylyn and Rosemary Carlile, Bob Nelson, Mike Frismanis, Issac Mempa, and the many wonderful people I have traded plants with all across the USA!