Thursday, 15 May 2008

Ready to go?

Empty Canna beds waiting for the starting pistol.

At Claines Canna, England, the Canna beds are dug, fertilized and ready to go. The collection is growing away quite happily and contented in the polytunnels, enjoying daytime temperatures of 45°C (110°F), watered daily and spoiled weekly with fungicide sprays and liquid seaweed feed.

This morning I looked at the 10 day weather forecast, and the coldest overnight temperature predicted is 5°C (41°F) on the 17th and 18th of May. The temptation is there to start lifting the plants from the ground in the polytunnel and start planting them outdoors. However, the winds on the 24th are from the North East, and I only have to see the words "north" & "wind" to get cautious. Our prevailing winds are from the south west, bringing warm air from the gulf steam. To the north-east lies Norway, Russia and other cold places, brrr!

We have had frosts at the end of May in the past, so, reluctantly we will go on the side of caution, and give it another day or two before deciding.

I must comment that I have never seen the collection looking so healthy at this time of the year, and we are hoping for a great year of Canna growing after the bad years we have had.


  1. Malcolm, your temperatures are not much different to ours right now and we are in the last month of autumn in the southern hemisphere.

    Our northern place is a few degrees warmer in the daytime temperatures than our home from where I am writing this. Here we have had one very mild frost that fried the edges of the leaves but we do not expect frosts a bit further north until mid June.

    The cannas have almost shut down at both properties. Still some existing flowering spikes limping along but no sign of new growth shooting up from the rhizomes and breaking fresh leaves, despite a lot of residual warmth in the soil. It might be wise for you to wait a week or two. Obviously these temperatures we are both experiencing in different hemispheres are not optimal for Canna growth. Have you tried those gossamer light frost blankets on nights that catch one out with sudden frosts? They saved our tomatoes last spring.

  2. Dale, I agree that caution is best. We have a large supply of garden fleece, which is what we call it in England, as we use it every Autumn after the first frost to protect the plants while we gather them all up again for their winter slee

    Probably a logical reason that the two climates are so similar currently, but I am just awe-struck at your summer temperatures, while ours are so temperate.

    The foliage in the polytunnel is the best that I have ever seen it, I am full of expectancy for this year.