I Canna get to Spain
05 July 2014 - by Lizzy Browne


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





Pacific Beauty


Queen Charlotte



Striped Beauty

Indica purpurea



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