Thursday, 6 March 2008

Canna Visits: Corfu

At Claines Canna we have been very lucky at discovering old Canna varieties when we take our trips into foreign parts. One place that we have planned on visiting for many years, but never got around to it is Corfu. OK, in a pre-Canna era we visited the Greek island as sun-bathing holiday-makers, but a future visit would also involve discovering what Canna are available on the island.

Why Corfu, you might ask? On Corfu is a magnificent summer palace in the region of Gastouri, to the south of the city, called the Achileon. It was built for the Empress of Austria Elisabeth of Bavaria who was a woman obsessed with beauty. In 1890, she started the work , with the powerful mythical hero Achilles as its central theme. This structure abounds with paintings and statues of Achilles, both in the main hall and in the gardens depicting the scenes of the Trojan war.

The German Kaiser Wilhelm III purchased the Achilleion in 1907 after the death of the Empress, and he appointed Carl Ludwig Sprenger as the botanical architect of the Palace. For those of you not into Canna history, it was Sprenger who first introduced the Italian Group of Cannas. I cannot believe that he would not have used his Cannas in abundance on such a prestigious project.

Even now, nearly one hundred years later, it is quite possible that original cultivars are still growing there, but also the surplus would have found its way into the islands gardens. So, why am I mentioning this here and not just keeping it to myself? Well, we have so many of these trips lined up that we cannot do them all in the next 5 years, hence a free suggestion for anyone visiting Corfu this year.

Thinks... "Could I make a living as a travel agent?"

Wikipedia reference

1 comment:

  1. A good starting point for Canna spotting on Corfu is Aqualand. Cannas are used in abundance in the landscaping around the park.(It's also great fun for people of all ages!!) If visiting the Island, i would recommend venturing away from the 'touristy' bits to get a feel of the real Corfu.