Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Crozy Cannas in 1895

Garden and forest. / Volume 8, Issue 394. [September 11, 1895, 361-370]

FEW bedding plants give as much satisfaction as the modern French Canna. Cannas are easily cared for in winter, easily started in spring, and with good, rich soil are almost a certain success. The general characteristics of the florists' Canna are so well marked that, although scores of new.varieties are introduced every year, it is quite easy to include all the best in a selection of twenty. There are lacking the trifling differences we find in Roses, Carnations and Chrysanthemums which fix the popularity of one variety above another in different sections of the country. The best crimson Canna is the best everywhere. The same can be said of other colors.. In the march of improvement every step is toward a certain ideal which all growers and raisers aini for. The typical Canna should have the terminal truss, or spike, erect and well developed; the flowers should be large; the petals broad and long-limbed, so as to make an evenly rounded flower, standing well out, spreading rather than erect, not bunched, but evenly distributed on all sides of the flower-stem. The new crimson F. R. Pierson comes nearest to this ideal.

Canna 'Florence Vaughan'

Captain Suzzoni, until this season the best light-spotted yellow, is now superseded by Madame Montefiore, the flowers of which are rounder and more evenly placed. Mrs. A. D. Cowing is another fine variety of this color, but much more dwarf than either, and better suited for the front row. Eldorado, one of this season's introductions, is a very fine yellow, with faint spots. It is practically yellow. It has not, however, done well so far as I have seen, so that further trial will be required to properly test it. Should it prove free and vigorous it will be an acquisition. Florence Vaughan (see above), as a dark-spotted yellow, is without a peer. As a bedder it is practically orange, as seen from a distance of twenty-five yards. It shows up well everywhere. In form and the arrangement of its flowers on the spike it is equal to the best type. Madame Dugas is the one variety which, in point of beauty, comes nearest to Florence Vaughan, but the tones are softer and the habit more dwarf. Rose Unique is a free-blooming pink. This is about all that can be said in its favor. It suffers by comparison and should never be massed with other Cannas. Its place should be among subtropical plants.

There is some divergence from the Madame Crozy type, but no decided improvement, and no variety is fit to supplant it, though variations from the Crozy type have given us many handsome varieties. Souvenir d'Antoine Crozy (see above) is undoubtedly the best. The scarlet ground is a trifle deeper in tone; the distinct yellow border is fully one-eighth of an inch deep and uniform. A mass of this Canna. at Mr. James Farquhar's, of Claredon Hills, Massachusetts, makes a beautiful display. Mrs. Fairman Rogers, which was honored with a silver medal by. the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, has proved disappointing so far as I have seen. It was shown from plants growing indoors as a giant Crozy, with a wide yellow border. Planted out it is in no way superior to Madame Crozy. Still further deviation from the Crozy type shows a wide and irregular yellow border, denoting the influence of the yellow varieties in the breeding. Queen Charlotte is the handsomest of these that I have seen; the yellow and the crimson in it are about equally divided. Next comes Vanden Berg, Junior, with scarlet in place of the crimson ground; the petals are broad and the arrangement of the flowers good. As a bedder this is a striking novelty of medium height and sturdy growth. Madame Bouvier is similar to the last named, but a foot taller.

We have some fine varieties of scarlet and orange shade. Paul Bruant is a scarlet, extremely rich in tone, with broad, wavy, satiny petals and a large well-developed spike. Mrs. J. M. Samuels is another good variety, with large, broad petals, of bright orange-red color. It is a fine grower. Helen Gould is a large, loose-petaled, orange-red, with a peculiar crystal-like lustre, which is perfectly charming. Among orange shades it is unique. General Mirabel (see right) is also orange-red. It is compact in habit and dwarf, and for this reason it is well adapted for the front row. Sunshine is a lustrous orange, in the way of Paul Marquant, but more dwarf. Both these varieties are better under glass, their flowers scorching easily under bright sunshine. There are few good varieties among vermilion shades; C. H. Molis and Columbia are the best. The latter has probably the largest truss of any known Canna, but is not of good form, being irregular and bunched.

There has been great improvement among crimson shades during the past few years. Alphonse Bouvier (see left) was a wonder. We had never seen anything equal to it. When Charles Henderson was introduced last year it was doubted whether it could possibly be an improvement on Alphonse Bouvier. It did not get strong enough last year to establish its claim, but this year it is everywhere in grand form. We have another Canna this season even better in form and nearer the ideal. As a crimson I do not consider it quite as good as Charles Henderson. The petal limbs are yellow, forming what would appear to be a yellow tube, and the staminate petal is also yellow, which, to my mind, detracts rather than enhances its value.

In dark-leaved varieties we should expect little improvement in the size of the flowers, since they are used principally as foliage-plants, but advance in size and color of the flowers has been as great as in the green-leaved varieties. I consider J. D. Cabos the most beautiful of all. The habit is sturdy and free. The spike is neatly formed and free from laterals; the color is clear orange. President Carnot is a giant and a grand foliaged plant. C. Vaughan carries a spike of scarlet flowers equal in size and form to any green-leaved variety.

Wellesley, Mass. T. D. Hatfield.

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