One of the most rewarding benefits of being involved in the gardening world is meeting other truly dedicated and generous gardeners. We met one particularly passionate individual, Susanne Lucas, well over a decade ago, and immediately responded to her infectious, “Let’s have fun in the garden” attitude. Her fabulous outlook is apparent when you visit the Plymouth MA garden she shares with her husband Morry, and her two “children”, Amelia and Ripley, a pair of amazingly well behaved Airedale Terriers.
Although her garden is composed of many types of plants, Susanne has a particular passion…an ornamental grass we commonly call bamboo. Susanne has a thing for all kinds of Bamboo, but most importantly the hardy forms, particularly Fargesia. How did this obsession begin you may ask? Susanne recalls that she first became aware of Bamboo as a youngster. She had custody of her elementary school’s pet guinea pig, and it escaped from her care into a neighbor’s grove of Bamboo. It’s easy to picture Susanne as a feisty little eight year old with dirt under her fingernails, exploring the jungle-like tangle in search of the missing pet, and at the same time, being distracted by the bamboo’s sheltering cover.
Susanne went on to study horticulture in college, but credits the many incredible plant people she’s met over the years for inspiring and influencing her education. One such individual, a Swiss gentleman named Anton Grieb, whom she met in 1992, was an amazing mentor whose love of all plants was only superseded by his infectious attitude. Over the past 20 years, Susanne has built a distinguished career in horticulture. She now wears many hats: she’s a landscape gardener and consultant , a former president and now honorary life member of the American Bamboo Society , and a founding director of the World Bamboo Organization.
With all these Bamboo related credentials, Susanne has sometimes been referred to as the “Bamboo Queen”, but she really doesn’t appreciate this reference, “Gardening is a not about rank or achievement. And it sounds snobby.” When asked what advice she could offer to novice gardeners, Susanne’s response conveys what we all want to hear. “Travel, even if it’s in your own neighborhood, and look at plants. Learn about where plants originate from so you understand the conditions they grow well in. Make friendships with others who garden; you will learn so much from them. And make sure you do what you want in your own garden.”