Tuesday, 19 October 2010

End of Cannas in England

Temperatures have been falling across Britain as the country prepares for a cold snap coming in from the Arctic.

Winds are becoming increasingly northerly with temperatures expected to fall to below freezing overnight across large swathes of the country.

Unseasonally cold temperatures will be accompanied by wintry showers with hail, sleet and even snow on high ground.

Temperatures, which reached a mild 16C (61F) on Monday, are due to fall a few degrees everywhere during the day.

This means the end of the Canna growing season, and the collections plants have all been making a huge effort in the last few weeks to try and produce seed before the winter frost, but their efforts have been in vain this year.

Once again, we have had a very poor year for growing Canna, the early months being almost back to front, with high sun early on and then poor light and much rain when we should have been enjoying a summer.

The whole collection has hardly produced any seed again this year, the best indicator of how the crop has progressed during the year.

We will let the frost stop the growth and over a period of about a month we will move nearly 300 Cannas indoors for winter protection. Most will be planted in the soil inside a poly-tunnel, where the addition of a layer or two of fleece covering will protect these tropical plants from our English winter. Others will be taken into a polytunnel in their pots and will remain in the pots over the winter, again protected by fleece and with thermostatically controlled heaters.

Whether planted in the soil or left in pots the plants will still require some attention, weeding and ensuring that the soil does not dry out totally, and a fungicide spray occasionally to ensure that damp related problems do not occur.

Canna lovers who have taken photos over the summer are invited to send me copies and I will be pleased to publish them on the blog, and let us all try and bring back shared memories of the summer!

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