Second Spanish buying trip postponed due to volcano – oh how bothersome! Actually, it’s disappointing but not disastrous as we discovered so many good batches of stock during the February visit that we’re still able to place an order and be well stocked up for the next few weeks. And compared to the blow of a cancelled holiday, or worse, the interminable boredom of taking up residence in an airport departure lounge for days on end, well, it’s just a minor inconvenience really.
But every cloud has a silver lining and this one is the beautiful, clear blue sky, unsullied by nasty ‘vapour’ trails that linger for hours.
Daytime temperatures are slowly creeping up but we’re still suffering very cold nights with some plants remaining reluctant to awaken. When visitors tell us they’re concerned about, for example, their tree ferns producing new fronds, I point them to our beech trees that are still completely naked, for reassurance.
Met office 5 day forecast is saying 17 degrees for Norwich on Saturday 24th and the forecast we subscribe to, WeatherAction, has predicted, for some time, a heat wave for the last week of April – ARE YOU READY???!!!
The last few days we’ve been potting cannas and they’ll be available in approximately 2 weeks time. Our method is as follows - We keep cannas in their pots over winter in a frost-free green house. At the end of March we turn them out of their pots, cut away the roots and divide the rhizomes into manageable size pieces. We then pack them tightly into wooden trays and cover with compost, which is kept just moist.
The cannas seem to burst into life and a few weeks later (now), when they have developed a reasonable root system, but before their roots become a tangled mess,
they are turned out of their trays and potted into 2 or 3 litre pots and again kept just moist until a really good root system has developed.
All our stock is home grown and we’re very vigilant with virus. Nobody is able to say with 100% certainty that their stock is un-virused, (only laboratory tests can certify this), but our plants look very clean and anything that looks suspicious is immediately burnt. At last we’ve re-built our stock of Canna musafolia, after destroying the whole crop four years ago, and now have plenty available. We had a visit from Ian Cooke, the UK Canna authority last year and he was very complimentary about our cannas and said how disgusted he was with many other nurseries and garden centres that knowingly sold virused cannas to unwitting customers.
I can’t gush about Cannas enough. Fast growing, lush, jungle foliage, easy to grow, quick to make up, and what other plant provides such an amazing, flower display that lasts from July until the first frosts? They require minimal frost protection in the winter and reward us each year with such a flower and foliage spectacle. And for traditionalists-type gardeners, who claim they are not hardy enough and are too high maintenance for them to grow, they may care to consider the following-
1) They require far less maintenance over a season than a hanging basket.
2) They are probably hardier than most of the plants in a hanging basket and if you can’t be bothered to protect them at least they stand a pretty good chance of surviving outdoors in an average winter.
3) For the same price as you would pay for basket plants you can buy several good size cannas which will give equal flower power (and better foliage too).
Varieties available this year include