Monday, 29 September 2008

Visit to the Canna Trials

It has been a hard year, the weather has not helped us at all, every task taking much longer than normal. It took Margaret and I up to this weekend to visit the Canna Trials ourselves. We had entered 12 of our recent cultivars for examination. The trials are being conducted at the home premises of the National Collection holders, Christine and Keith Hayward at Farnborough, Hampshire, in England.

We had good weather and no rain interrupted what turned out to be a very pleasant day out. Not many of the Trials Cannas were in bloom, but I was particularly impressed with C. 'Leopardeau' and C. 'Bird of Paradise'. Two totally different Canna types, but both new varieties deserving of praise.

C. 'Léopardeau', raised by Raphaël Roger in Belgium, is a very sophisticated, modern Premier Group, small cultivar with unique markings on the flowers, reminiscent of the spotting on young leopards, hence its name! [Click on any of the photos for larger images]

This is an exciting, new type of marking that has a great potential with other colour combinations if we can exploit its potential. In my opinion, Monsieur Roger deserves a round of applause for his efforts.

C. 'Bird of Paradise' is a large Foliage Group cultivar,with lance-shaped nicely marked foliage and a delightful small flower. Of course this is grown for its foliage primarily, but the smaller, minimalist flowers are pleasing in their own right, being only marginally smaller than the early Crozy Group.

Congratulations are due to Brian Williams for raising this beauty. It proves that the architectural Foliage Group are just as important to us, going forward, as the cultivars developed for the Garden Centre bench.

Others that were in flower when we visited were C. 'Eden', C. 'Honeybunch', C. 'Panama', and C. 'Sadd 2.05'. They all impressed as quality plants that could be grown for commercial sale with reliable results. Remember that they are mainly without virus infection!

We saw all of the other trial entries without flowers, and we saw much good, strong foliage. It left us wishing that we had been able to attend the trial earlier, and enjoy what the other entries had to offer.

The trial has received about 150 visitors and received many complimentary comments, in spite of the extremely poor weather conditions experienced this year which obviously affected the number of flowers and foliage, and possibly the number of visitors as well.

Raphaël Roger web site
Brian Williams web site


  1. I did not feel it was essential to attend the trials, the promise of regular updates / photographs would have been enough for me.
    I am disappointed now to have not gone as this is the only way one would see anything.
    Never mind.
    I must apologise to you Malcolm, it must seem as though I hold you responsible for the absence of updates! I don't, I know you have been relying on Keith to supply you with info. You know what I'm like once I start ranting!

  2. Malcolm, there are still over a hundred trial photographs to be uploaded. Unfortunately, Keith has had his own problems this year.

    I spoke to Keith about this at the weekend and he has stated that he will be getting them uploaded as soon as possible.