Saturday, 24 January 2009

More Canna 'President'

By Kent Kelly, 22 January 2009

Photograph by Quality Gladiolus Gardens, of Jonesboro, AR, USA

The President’ canna is without question one of the very best cultivars introduced ever. It has withstood the test of time and has remained both viable and productive for over 90 years. I suspect we cannot count on our hands the cultivars that match this record.

Almost without doubt, its origin lies here in the U.S. but confirming the breeder is still somewhat a mystery.

As you suggest, to date we have not located a plant registration for ‘The President’. Like many other cultivars the present limited information likely points to it being a renamed canna.

My earliest sales listing of ‘The Present’ is an advertisement by HENRY A. DREER of Philadelphia, Pa. They were one of the leading growers and suppliers in this country. This canna advertisement was published in 1920. I also found a “limited view” stating it being trialed in the Chicago parks in 1918.

The cultivar ‘Queen of Beauty’ was registered with the Plant Registration Authority in 1905 by The Southern Floral Company along with 19 other cultivars. This plant description certainly matches the description of ‘The President’. Of course that does not definitely prove the case!

As we have previously stated, the TSFC sold ‘Queen of Beauty’ to the FRANK CUMMINGS BULBS & PLANT CO., Meridian, Mississippi in late 1905 or early 1906. The FCB&PC apparently received all stock of this cultivar and in sufficient quantities to be able to offer it for sale on a “limited” basis in 1906 at the unheard of price of $1.00 each.

For whatever reason, after 1906 I can not find any reference to C. ‘Queen of Beauty’ and even more strangely I cannot find the existence of either of these companies who were growing it. It is as they disappeared off the face of the earth! Of course this may more likely reflect on my ability to do proper searches but one would think these companies would have continued selling and advertising in the trade journals in subsequent years.

All the above information may prove of little consequence relative to ‘The President’, but for now it is what I have along with a gut feeling.

No comments:

Post a Comment