Thursday, July 2, 2009

Canna flower in Adminstration Building container

Cannas have been experiencing, by fits and starts, a revival that began sometime, I think?, in the 1980s. Still, occasionally, when I propose them in designs, I elicit an immediate expression of distaste an often the comment "ditch lilies". There is a traditional prejudice against them in the South as plants of the trailer park poor. Well, I have experienced my own "trailer" prejudice in Florida after buying a property with, not a stick-built house, but a double-wide. These prefabricated homes certainly aren't trailers, but on the other hand....they are licensed yearly by the DMV. Not that they ever move....still....

I am very happy with my double-wide house and I love Cannas. I like the plants themselves as much as their flowers, though the flowers come regularly and are beautiful. The foliage can add bold texture and the plant itself adds a bit of architectural structure to the summer garden which has a tendency to become a bit unstructured. This is a plant that has benefited from Global Warming, or Zone creep; many gardens in the Washington DC area now have clumps of Cannas as perennial elements. Thirty years ago not so much. In my experience the variety 'Bengal Tiger' is one of the most dependably hardy selections, and has strikingly variegated leaves. They all grow so quickly that digging the crowns after the first frost and storing them in the coolest place in your house is an easy worthwhile approach.

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