As I got older I became infatuated with wanting to know how bamboo got to Florida. It has been an 8 year search and I keep uncovering the story that has left me extremely fascinated.
In 2012 I was sitting in Rollins College near Orlando reading old letters from the early bamboo planters when a professor walked into to the special reference area and told me I should read Henry Nehrling's book to see what he said about his bamboos. Nehrling became the tourist guide for bamboo in the late 1800s.
As a boy during the Civil War Henry Nehrling walked to school through a first growth forest in Wisconsin. He fell in love with birds and plants and later wrote books about them. His Florida garden became so famous that visitors like Thomas Edison and Henry Ford visited looking for rubber trees for Ford's tires and their friend Firestone. Teddy Roosevelt visited also and so did Floyd Alonzo McClure the Bamboo Ambassador from the East to the West and David Fairchild world traveler botanist who brought thousands of plants to the US and many of the big horticulturalists of that day.
In 1895 Nehrling imported bamboo from Japan. I suspect from an early Japanese importer called Helen Berger went to Japan in 1887 filing an order of 17 varieties to Nehrling's close friend Theo Mead. Berger's catalog mentioned most of the bamboos he ordered using only Japanese names and Henry mentioned he finally knew their English names in 1897. Most of the varieties he bought were planted around his lake and they were lost when a flood rose the lake water and covered the bamboos for 2 years and they died in 1905-1906. But right at the 100 year floor leve his Taiho Chiku bamboo, Bambusa Argentea Striata now called Bambusa Multiplex Silverstripe survived. It is from this bamboo that I bring to the market my historical "Nehrling Flutes".
Pictures of Henry Nehrling and his passionate bamboo sayings and some pictures from when I was able to harvest there.
Some of the proceeds will go to help the up-keep of the old Nehrling estate now a National Historical Site and some of the proceeds will be donated to Flutemaker Ministries to feed children with disabilities in severe poverty in Nicaragua.
Erik the Flutemaker
14701 SW 18th Court
Davie, FL 33325