Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Canna News migrating to its own servers

The Canna News has migrated to it's own web server and these articles on this Google Blogger Site will not be added to in the future, although the site will remain active as an archive.

The existing articles have been migrated to the new servers and are being added to as fresh information is obtained.

Why not follow this link to Canna News and register there with us.

You can also have each new article sent to you automatically by email from the new web site.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Pesticides linked to honeybee decline

Common crop pesticides have been shown for the first time to seriously harm bees by damaging their renowned ability to navigate home.

The new research strongly links the pesticides to the serious decline in honey bee numbers in the US and UK – a drop of around 50% in the last 25 years. The losses pose a threat to food supplies as bees pollinate a third of the food we eat such as tomatoes, beans, apples and strawberries.

Scientists found that bees consuming one pesticide suffered an 85% loss in the number of queens their nests produced, while another study showed a doubling in "disappeared" bees – those that failed to return from food foraging trips. The significance of the new work, published Science, is that it is the first carried out in realistic, open-air conditions.

"People had found pretty trivial effects in lab and greenhouse experiments, but we have shown they can translate into really big effects in the field. This has transformed our understanding," said Prof David Goulson, at the University of Stirling and leader of one of the research teams. "If it's only one metre from where they forage in a lab to their nest, even an unwell bee can manage that."

Prof Mickaël Henry, at INRA in Avignon, France, who led a separate research team, said: "Under the effects we saw from the pesticides, the population size would decline disastrously, and make them even more sensitive to parasites or a lack of food."


The reason for the huge decline in bee numbers has remained uncertain, but pesticides, the varroa mite and other parasites, and destruction of the flower-rich habitats in which bees feed are believed to be the key reasons. Pesticide manufacturers and the UK government deny a class of the chemicals called neonicotinoids cause significant problems for bees, but Germany, Italy and France have suspended key insecticides over such fears.

A spokesperson from Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said the new research did not change the government's position. "The UK has a robust system for assessing risks from pesticides and all the evidence shows neonicotinoids do not pose an unacceptable risk to honeybees when products are used correctly. However, we will not hesitate to act if presented with any new evidence." Henry said the new research showed current approval processes for the pesticides are inadequate: "We now have enough data to say authorisation processes must take into account not only the lethal effects, but also the effects of non-lethal doses."

The pesticides investigated in the new studies - insect neurotoxins called neonicotinoids - are applied to seeds and flow through the plants' whole system. The environmental advantage of this is it reduces pesticide spraying but chemicals end up in the nectar and pollen on which bees feed. Goulson's group studied an extremely widely used type called imidacloprid, primarily manufactured by Bayer CropScience, and registered for use on over 140 crops in 120 countries.

Bumblebees were fed the toxin at the same level found in treated rape plants and found that these colonies were about 10% smaller than those not exposed to the insecticide. Most strikingly, the exposed colonies lost almost all of their ability to produce queens, which are the only bee to survive the winter and establish new colonies. "There was a staggering magnitude of effect," said Goulson. "This is likely to have a substantial population-level impact."

The French team analysed the effect on honey bees of a new generation neonicotinoid, called thiamethoxam and manufactured by Syngenta. They fitted tiny electronic tags to over 650 bees and monitored their activity around the hive. Those exposed to "commonly encountered" levels of thiamethoxam suffered high mortality, with up to a third of the bees failing to return. "They disappeared in much higher numbers than expected," said Henry. Previous scientific work has shown insect neurotoxins may cause memory, learning, and navigation problems in bees.



Read rest of the Guardian article

Friday, 12 November 2010

Canna 'Uvurderlig'


A medium sized Foliage Group cultivar; green foliage, oval-acuminate shaped, transparent margin, upright habit; half-round stems, coloured green; spikes of flowers are erect, burnt-red streaked with red, staminodes are long and narrow, edges irregular, labellum is saffron-yellow with a narrow carmine margin, style is saffron-yellow, petals purple, fully self-cleaning; fertile both ways, self-pollinating but not true to type, capsules globose; rhizomes are thick, up to 3 cm in diameter, coloured white and purple; tillering is average.
Introduced by Malcolm Dalebö, Claines Canna Collection, Worcester, England, EU in 2006.
This is another member of our "back to basics" experiment, where we replicated the species crosses made in the 1840's and onwards to see what we could produce. The achievement with this second generation cross was producing flowers with petals (staminodes) much larger than the species. This cultivar remains part of our breeding programme and will be crossed with more species to capture more of the basics, but also will be crossed with modern Premier Group cultivars to understand what such a cross will produce.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Why more aquatic cultivars?

About seven years ago I built a small pond in the garden, its dimensions are about 2 metres by 1 metre. Not very large, but in keeping with the size of the garden. This is typical of garden ponds in the UK, somewhere for a couple of fish, a small fountain, a few aquatic plants, especially a water lily, and the inevitable frogs.
Naturally, I immediately planted the Longwood series of aquatic Canna in the special aquatic pots and settled back to enjoy them. True to their reputation they did not fail me as they are true aquatics, flourishing under 15-20cm (approx 6 inches) of water and they grew and they grew. This was their failing for me, they are far too large for a small garden pond. Their height made the pool, which was my pride and joy, look like a small puddle.
The Longwood aquatic cultivars were bred for the large ornamental ponds and lakes of Longwood garden, not for the typical suburban garden puddle. The series consists of Cannas 'Endeavor', 'Ra', 'Erebus' and 'Taney'. My favourite is probably C. 'Erebus', a fine pink specimen, but the intense yellow of C. 'Ra' (below right) is always eye-catching, and the unusual apricot/salmon orange colour of C. 'Taney' is always interesting and last, but not least, we have C. 'Endeavor' (above right), with its attractive bright red flowers.


However, I digress. We had already recreated the earliest Canna species cross, having crossed C. glauca with C. indica. However, instead of obtaining the 2 metre (6'6") tall C. 'Annei', we had obtained seedlings that grew to under 1 metre (3'3"), but with the same glaucous blue, lance shaped foliage. So we decided to see if we could create a series of aquatic cultivars based on these seedlings which all took after the aquatic C, glauca, and more suitable for the small garden pond than the expansive ponds and lakes of Longwood Gardens.

Eventually we ended up with Canna 'Avon', a pale yellow speckled with cerise, Canna 'Severn', which is a golden yellow with some small red spotting, C. 'Usk', that is a distinctive self-coloured burnt-red, C. 'Wye', which is pink tinged with canary-yellow, and C. 'Teme', the 'white' of the series, but really a pleasant self-coloured ivory. Others are still undergoing evaluation, and we are still trying to create the difficult orange one.
Was it worth while? I think so, they look just right and in balance in our small pool, and we find that the gaucous blue, lance shaped foliage that they all share adds the final touch of elegance.
Over the next weeks we will try and post articles on some of these new cultivars.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Canna 'Uncle Sam'


A tall Italian Group cultivar; green foliage, ovoid shaped, maroon margin, branching habit; triangular stems, coloured green + purple; panicles of flowers are open, red-orange and burnt-red, staminodes are large, edges lightly frilled, petals purple with farina, fully self-cleaning; seed is sterile, pollen is low fertile; rhizomes are thick, up to 3 cm in diameter, coloured white and purple; tillering is prolific.

Introduced by Antoine Wintzer of The Conard & Jones Co., West Grove, PA, USA. Awarded the RHS Award of Merit in 1907 and featured in the 1908 RHS outdoor Canna trials at Wisley, England.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Canna 'Ulrich Brunner'


A medium sized Crozy Group cultivar; green foliage, oval shaped, branching habit; spikes of flowers are open, self-coloured scarlet, staminodes are medium size, edges irregular, partial self-cleaning; fertile both ways, not self-pollinating or true to type, capsules round; rhizomes are thick, up to 3 cm in diameter, coloured white and purple; tillering is prolific.

Introduced by A. Crozy, Lyon, France in the late 1880's.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Obituary to Common Sense

Obituary printed in the London Times - Interesting and sadly rather true.

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as: 
  • Knowing when to come in out of the rain; 
  • Why the early bird gets the worm; 
  • Life isn't always fair; 
  • and maybe it was my fault. 

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition. 

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims. 

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault. 

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement. 

Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason. 

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers; 
  • I Know My Rights 
  • I Want It Now 
  • Someone Else Is To Blame 
  • I'm A Victim 

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Canna tuerckheimii Kraenzl.


A giant species; green foliage, oblong shaped, branching habit; spikes of flowers are erect, self-coloured crimson, staminodes are long and narrow, edges regular, petals purple, fully self-cleaning; fertile both ways, not self-pollinating or true to type, capsules ellipsoid; rhizomes are thick, up to 7 cm in diameter, coloured white and purple; tillering is prolific.
Introduced by Kraenzl. Native of Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia and Ecuador at altitudes of 500-2,000m (1,600 - 6,500ft). Johnson's Dictionary of 1856 reports that it first entered England in 1820 as Canna latifolia, meaning 'broad-leaved'.
Professor Paul Maas and his wife Dr. Hiltje Maas, consider C. tuerckheimii is the correct name, but Dr. Nobuyuki Tanaka considers that the correct name is C. latifolia.
Synonyms: C. altensteinii Bouché, C. 'Broadleaf', C. 'Broad-leaved canna', C. coccinea var. sylvestris (Roscoe) Regel, C. curviflora Horan., C. gemella Nees & Mart., C. gigantea F. Delaroche, C. iridiflora Willd., C. latifolia Mill., C. macrophylla Hort. ex Horan., C. 'Marabout', C. neglecta Weinm., C. sylvestris Roscoe, C. violacea Bouché

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Canna 'Trumeric Yellow'


A recent introduction to the Claines Canna Collection.

A medium sized Italian Group cultivar; green foliage, ovoid shaped, branching habit; spikes of flowers are open, self-coloured saffron-yellow, staminodes are large, edges ruffled, labellum is saffron-yellow with orange-red spots, stamen is saffron-yellow with orange-red spots, petals green, fully self-cleaning, good bloomer; seed is sterile, pollen is low fertile; rhizomes are thick, up to 3 cm in diameter, coloured white; tillering is average.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Canna 'True Heart'


A medium sized Foliage Group cultivar; green and purple variegated foliage, oval shaped, maroon margin, upright habit; oval stems, coloured green + purple; flowers are open, rainbow-shaded rose-red, staminodes are long and narrow, edges regular, style is red, petals purple with farina, fully self-cleaning; fertile both ways, not self-pollinating or true to type; rhizomes are thick, up to 3 cm in diameter, coloured white and purple; tillering is slow.


Introduced by Malcolm Dalebö, Claines Canna Collection, Worcester, England, EU.