Sunday, 14 October 2007

Cannas for everyone! 1896

Garden and forest. / Volume 9, Issue 426. [April 22, 1896, 161-170]
Wellesley, Mass. T. D. Hatfield.

THE freedom with which Cannas can be grown makes them everybody's plants, and it is not uncommon to see them growing thriftily in the backyards of crowded portions of the city. They are effective in every stage of their growth, and a mass of them in bloom is always pleasing.

After a rest of a month our last season's plants were gradually started and kept rather dry until active growth commenced. They began to bloom again in March, and after resting for a couple of weeks during May, which can be brought about partly by withholding water, they will be planted out again and will bloom for the remainder of the season.

Since the production of the Crozy type of Canna this has been the standard by which others have been judged, and nothing better, at least in form, was looked for, although new colors have been expected. These we have had in abundance, but as the type has always been so well defined it has been easy to decide on the merits of a novelty, and no introducer of any standing would risk his reputation by sending out inferior varieties. Now we have a new type, said to be a hybrid between Canna flaccida and the Crozy strain, one of which, Italia, has already been figured and described in GARDEN AND FOREST, and another, Austria, has also been noticed as bearing still larger flowers of similar form, pure yellow, with the exception of scarlet pencilings on the centre petals.

The introductions for the year of the Crozy type show an advance principally in larger flowers of symmetrical contour, full, and turned out on all sides of the stem so as to show a vertical face. Collectively, therefore, when best developed, they form a pyramidal spike. In beauty of outline and in the regular arrangement of its flowers, F. R. Pierson, a magnificent crimson with a golden throat, is the best of its type, and it is not likely soon to be excelled. Flamingo approaches it, although the short side spikes give the whole cluster a slightly more rounded appearance. As an element of beauty a head made up in this way is not so attractive as one bold spike. For bedding purposes it will be superior on account of the long time one flower-stem will remain in good bloom. Trilby claims favor as the Orchid Canna, and under glass it is exceedingly beautiful. It is bright yellow, with clearly cut scarlet markings in the centre, and the large flowers have more substance than many of its color.

Pierson's Black Beauty is a seedling from President Carnot. This old variety is conceded by all who have grown it to be the best of all the bronzy-leaved varieties which have also attractive flowers. No doubt, J. D. Cabos and J. C. Vaughan, bronzy-leaved varieties, with handsome salmon-colored flowers, were both derived from this. Black Beauty eclipses them all in the color of its foliage and is equally effective in bloom.

Among yellow-banded Cannas of the Crozy group, Queen Charlotte, of last year, took a leading position. But the specialist has been at work in the mean time, and will introduce Little Billee as an improved seedling from Queen Charlotte. It is dwarfer and said to be superior for massing. Under glass it certainly is a most attractive variety, and, compared with Queen Charlotte, it is slightly deeper in tone. Madame Alphonse Bouvier is another so-called Orchid Canna of singular beauty. The ground-color is scarlet, with an irregular orange band continued into the throat. Souvenir Antonin Crozy remains the best of all the true Crozy type, and it is doubtful if any of this year's introductions will equal it in beauty. Ami Pezeux competes with F. R. Pierson among maroon shades. All through the flower are scattered dots of a deeper hue in the same way as the so-called yellow Cannas are spreckled with red. Madame Rozain is a deeply toned Madame Crozy, with the addition to the characteristic yellow band of a yellow throat, which rather increases its effectiveness. Côte d'Or is described as strikingly effective for bedding, with saffron-colored flowers. It is compact and dwarf.
Canna 'Florence Vaughan'

Among older varieties, Alphonse Bouvier stands at the head. It is not of the ideal form; the terminal spike perversely droops. While flowers continue to expand on this, others take its place later, also spreading out. They continue to open in large effective clusters for a long time. Its lustrous maroon-colored flowers are unsurpassed by any variety known. Another of exactly the same type is Helen Gould, and this is bright amber. It was one of the most striking varieties in a large group here last summer. Although introduced several years ago, Paul Bruant is as yet little known. It is one of the best of crimson-flowering Cannas for pot-culture. On a plant in a ten-inch pot are three well-developed flower-stems carrying good heads of bloom, which would make this an effective decorative plant in any grouping. Florence Vaughan has been a surprise this season as a pot-plant, being the earliest to bloom and the most floriferous of any of the so-called yellow-flowered varieties.

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