Last weeks space Carnival was hosted by Todd over at Catholic Sensibility, with a large number of posts dedicated to the red planet (including mine).
One post that stood out was from Ian O'Neill over at AstroEngine with his recent visit to The Eden Project:
Proudly supporting radically different ecosystems, the chain of biomes are carefully controlled to support a mini rainforest through to a temperate Mediterranean environment. For me, the most inspiring zone was the rainforest. There seemed to be a focus on educating visitors as to what the rainforest provides and how humans can exist in harmony under the palms and huge poles of bamboo. Interestingly, and this was something that only just dawned on me when I saw it, many of the structures and mock-up "settlements" were constructed with bamboo. Apart from the obvious biome structural design, I couldn't see anything obvious that connected my work with the Mars Foundation to the Eden Project. But there it was, all around us: bamboo.
Regardless on whether one dreams of living lunar side or on the red planet (or even Callisto and Ganymede), future colonists are going to need some type of reminder of home that they can preferably touch and smell.
While a garden may help settlers "connect" with their earthen cradle, a forest would probably ease the burden of living millions of kilometers from global civilization.
Unfortunately the average tree takes decades to reach maturity (not to mention provide some sort of aesthetic value), while bamboo on the other hand is known to grow several inches a day (if not more).
This could enable future outposts to not only raise their own forests fairly quickly, but also provide some interesting hobbies off world (at least for those who enjoy carpentry that is).
For those of you reading this, the next Carnival of Space is coming up, and for those of you looking to submit your article to the next round, you can visit Universe Today for the latest details on how to enter.