Research for novel: Best type of bamboo for growing outdoors in northern Ontario garden?


I am a published children’s book author and illustrator, currently working on a novel (fiction) for middle grade (8-12 years old). The main character is Japanese-Canadian. Her mother is an avid gardener, specializing in Japanese landscaping. I’d like part of their family garden to focus on Japanese plants, especially BAMBOO.

The location is a fictional small town in northern Ontario. I do not specify HOW far north, so some leeway re: hardiness zone is ok. And because it’s fiction, I also have leeway re: sun/shade, wet/dry etc.

I would appreciate any advice about what type of Japanese theme plants that my character’s mother might put in their back garden, given the general location of northern Ontario. I’d also appreciate advice re: type or types of bamboo that might be grown in the garden.

Advice appreciated, thank you!


Thank-you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners with your question. 

I am sure your book will be very interesting. 

Here are some recommendations.


Japanese maples, of different shapes and heights

ornamental cherry tree


 Japanese boxwood 

 dwarf mugo pine 

 black dragon cedar

 Japanese cedar

Spring flowers:

Japanese irises


Summer flowers:



Japanese wisteria


Japanese boxwood

Japanese pine

dwarf mugo pine 

black dragon Japanese cedar 

Japanese painted fern, lady fern  and Japanese forest grass for shady areas.

Lotus for the water garden.


umbrella bamboo

blue fountain bamboo, 

red dragon bamboo and

black cherry bamboo.


Good luck with your writing.