Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Assessment of Canna progress, 1897

Garden and forest. / Volume 10, Issue 501. [September 29, 1897, 379-388]

The Cultivation of Cannas.

IT is interesting to look back a decade and note the progress made in the cultivation of Cannas. The development of the Crozy type, from which almost every high-class variety has come, is most interesting. In no class of plants can less credit be claimed by the hybridist, for the best Cannas have resulted from careful selection. The arrangements for close fertilization are so complete that it is almost impossible, if fecundation is secured, to thwart Nature.

It was predicted when the large-flowered giants of the Flaccida type, Italia and Austria, were introduced that they would supersede the Crozy type. Both these types are continuous bloomers, but what is lacking in the blooms of all Cannas, durability of texture, is still more lacking in the Italian varieties. The flowers are extremely fugacious, and what I have seen of the half a dozen or more new colors in this section they all have the same defect. The American variety of this type, the Burbank, is no better in this respect; in appearance it resembles the variety named Austria (see left). As pot-plants for foliage effects Cannas are highly effective, and under glass, with shade, the flowers are more durable. This is true of all Cannas; under glass the flowers have better individual development and last long enough to fill out a good round truss.

Canna specialists hesitate to judge a variety by its behavior under glass; the supreme test is out in the open air. Paul Bruant is superb under glass, but of little use under direct sunlight. For a bedding Canna a compact truss is a strong recommendation. Among medium growers, Queen Charlotte and its " improved " variety are the finest. The flowers are widely banded with yellow and durable. An effective combination in a circular bed may be made with plants of Queen Charlotte in the middle and Mrs. Fairman Rogers, a fine form of the Crozy type, as an edging.

Mr. Denys Zirngiebel, of Needham, Massachusetts, who makes a speciality of Cannas, considers President Cleveland, a salmon-scarlet, the finest bedding Canna of its color yet introduced. It is very compact, and in vividness of coloring it outshone all others in a large patch containing sixty varieties. It was raised by Mr. Pfister, gardener at the White House. This list comprises scarcely half a dozen first-class varieties, if the dark-leaved sorts are excluded. Bismarck, a recent variety, showed up well; it has a dwarf habit and compact and full-flowered truss of crimson flowers. Robert Christie is a beautiful salmon-red and a splendid pot-plant; Ami Pichon is a good maroon with deeper spots; Leonard Vaughan is a fine dark-leaved kind with scarlet flowers; J. D. Cabos has orange-scarlet blooms; President Carnot has luxuriant foliage.

Wellesley, Mass. - Professor T. D. Hatfield.

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