Torrential rain is sweeping across the UK, with flash floods leaving some homes waterlogged and schools closed. The band of severe weather has hit southern and central England and Wales, and will move north to reach Scotland and Northern Ireland over the weekend. Rain is falling at up to 18mm (0.7in) an hour and some areas could see levels reach 100mm (3.9in) in 24 hours. The Environment Agency has two flood warnings and the Met Office has severe weather warnings for England and Wales.
In the meantime, at Worcester, our Cannas, both the mature plants and this years seedlings are taking a beating. The collection looks so sad, there are no more than 50% of the plants showing good foliage. The lack of direct sunshine for nearly two months is having a dire effect. We have had only a handful of days with direct sunlight, when it has not been raining it has been overcast with low cloud.
We have to help many plants to unfurl their leaves, the lack of light means a lack of energy. Photosynthesis is the conversion of light, and is the reason d’etre for Cannas fabulous foliage. More plants have flowered this month than in previous years, and they are also shorter than usual. Obviously, this weather is creating a great deal of stress, for the Cannas and us, and this weekend they are going to have to endure another wall of water hitting them for hours on end, having barely survived similar torrents last month. The seedlings are not yet advanced enough to be able to send up another shoot quickly if the main stem is damaged, and we will be looking this weekend at creating more cover for the worst affected.