JADE MOUNTAIN BAMBOO - WHO WE ARE
Phil Davidson, Chris Davidson, and John Douville own and operate Jade Mountain Bamboo,
their Northwest bamboo nursery and store on the outskirts of Tacoma,
just off SR 512. They also provide bamboo via mail-order.
As the the outgrowth of a home-based bamboo nursery begun in 1986,
Jade Mountain now offers more than 50 varieties of hardy bamboo, ranging in size from
small ground covers that barely reach a foot, to large majestic timber bamboos that
soar 50 feet and more.
The staff at Jade Mountain are members of the American Bamboo Society and the local Pacific
About Phil Davidson
Phil Davidson has spent many years as a bamboo aficionado.
As a member of the American Bamboo Society and the local Pacific
Northest Chapter, Phil served as Editor of the
Pacific Northwest Bamboo magazine from 1990 to 2002.
The Pacific Northwest Bamboo magazine is a quarterly
publication of the Pacific NW chapter of the
American Bamboo Society. An average issue contains
more than 40 pages of photos and articles on bamboo from
all over the world.
During his tenure as Editor, Phil was directly responsible for
increasing the local membership from 110 members to over 475.
In his own words...
In the spring of 1948 I first saw bamboo as a 7 year-old child in the backyard of our home located on the outskirts of postwar Tokyo. My Father, a military intelligence Army officer, was assigned to General Macarthur's Joint Far East Staff as part of the Occupation forces.
The new shoots were about a foot tall and unusual to me as I had never seen a plant that looked anything quite like bamboo.
A few days later I came home from school and was playing in the backyard when I thought to check the bamboo shoot again. To my surprise the shoot was now gone. I went inside and asked one of the servants if they knew anything about my missing shoot. Fumiko, 18 years old and just out of school herself, pointed to the preparation table where the shoot now lay, steaming and marinating in a dark brown sauce. This was to be part of their dinner. I asked to try a small slice and found it to be strange to my western tongue but tasty too.
In our family travels throughout Japan I often saw both wild and domesticated bamboo along with a few formal gardens composed of bamboo, pines, dwarf maple trees, rock and sometimes koi fish. I was not to see bamboo again until 1966 when I arrived in Vietnam. The sheer size of the tropical bamboos there was mindboggling with giants reaching 80 feet and more.
After 18 months in 'Nam I was reassigned to Fukuoka (Hakata) in southern Japan where I spent the next 5 years.
Japan is a very beautiful country and to me the most beautiful part is the southernmost island of Kyushu with its mild winters, hot humid summers, and rugged mountains alongside the turquoise Sea of Japan. I saw many species of bamboo in my travels when not working at the Army Field Station. On days off we would go back into the serene countryside with its valleys and hills where one saw rice paddies and along side the nearby bamboo groves up hill. I remember in amazement my first view of a vast forest of Moso, the true giant of hardy bamboos soaring 60 and 70 feet. The culms were so large it was almost impossible to get your hands around one.
That was more than 30 years ago and now as I revisit Japan every 5 or 6 years I go back to Kyushu and relive my youth and see the bamboo as it was and as it is.
About Chris Davidson and John Douville
Chris and John may be seen as the new strong backs at the
nursery. Both started as everyday workers at the nursery who
soon became addicted to the beauty and benefits of bamboo.
After time, and Dale Chesnut's retiring from the nursery, they
became equal owners and are now looking to take Jade
Mountain in new and exciting directions.
About Dale Chesnut
While no longer involved in the day to day work at the nursery
Dale Chesnut, once active owner, has taken a back seat to the
nursery activites and is enjoying a semi-retired life with his wife
Dale has achieved a balance of "water and dirt" in his life
by being a commercial fisherman in Alaska in the summer time,
and a gardener and nurseryman the rest of the year.
After fishing seasons were shortened in Alaska, Dale developed an interest in
gardening after buying his wife, Joanna, a Japanese maple as a wedding anniversary
gift in 1997. They soon had more maples than would fit in their front yard,
so they expanded their private garden to include some pasture land they owned.
That one maple resulted in an ongoing installation of a one acre garden that
includes rare and unusual plants, a 40,000 gallon pond, as well as wood and
stone sculptures either in place or commisioned to be created by local well known artists.
Dale and Joanna were interested in bamboo, but were concerned about adding plants
to the garden that might be difficult to control. "After talking to members of
the local chapter of the bamboo society," Dale said,"we realized that bamboo was
perfect for us and would add to the Oriental feel we wanted in our garden. We
learned it is easy to grow and easy to control, bamboo would be a great evergreen
plant for our property."
Joanna has been a gardener all of her life, an interest she shared with her mother
who had been invited to attend the Royal College of Horticulture in England. She
considers Dale a perfect partner in helping in the garden, "since he likes to dig big
holes and put big trees in them." "It's a guy thing," according to Dale.