Several gardeners in my neighborhood have lovely stands of bamboo growing on the street. I love to walk by them just as a breeze catches their leaves and they make that rustling sound that seems unique to their species.
One adventurous person has planted a truly magnificent black bamboo (Phyllostacys nigra) in the parking strip.
Not sure if this is a running or clumping type of bamboo, but the gardener seems to have made a good job of containment either way, surrounding the plant with edging and bricks. I saw no evidence that it has jumped the fence, so to speak, and turned up elsewhere.
Personally, I am terrified of planting bamboo, since I don’t believe that the clumping ones really are all that easy to keep on top of. But if I had to pick one, I think black bamboo would be it. It’s just so exotic looking, especially here in Seattle. The interplay between the wonderfully variegated leaves, the deep black canes and the sunlight filtering through is just magical.
Black bamboo is said to be hardy down to about 0 degrees, so it’s not for every climate. For a good general overview of bamboo types and culture requirements, click here.