The big news in the Canna world at the moment is the announcement that the NCCPG are to hold a Canna Trial in 2008, at the premises of Mr Keith Hayward, who is the holder of the UK National Canna Collection. The trial is confined to new cultivars, and already Canna hybridisers from the EU, USA and Australia have indicated that they will be submitting their new varieties for competition and awards. It is hoped that many more Canna hybridisers will be entering as the news of the event circulates internationally.
The competitors will submit four rhizomes of each cultivar entered in December 2007. In early 2008 the rhizomes will be potted and grown on in heated conditions. Three rhizomes will be planted in the competition beds and the fourth will be grown in a larger pot to allow simple comparisons between cultivars and for exhibition.
Still to be decided are the groupings under which the cultivars will be compared, and the terms of reference for judging each of the groupings. What makes a really good miniature Canna cultivar, and how should it be judged? That is still to be resolved. Many other genuses have had such things agreed and documented for many years, in some cases for over a century. The past demise of the Canna genus in popularity, lasting for almost 80 years, has meant that new ground is being broken here.
The judges have yet to be appointed, but the plan is that they should all be recognised judges, or well known Canna authorities. The judging of the entries will take place over a period of time, so that the Cannas special feature of long-term, continuous flowering can be assessed, along with witnessing the durability of the foliage.
The prize ceremony for winning entrants will be held at a major flower show, and an international celebrity will award the prizes. Exactly what the prizes will be has also to be resolved. Many years ago, the author bred gun dogs and competed at Kennel Club shows, and the receipt of a red card meaning a winner, and an entry in the Stud Book was all that was necessary to create euphoria. In other countries the custom has always been to award medals, so we will have to wait to see the largess of the NCCPG.
Further news will be published as it breaks!