1 Cannas

This I have to share! On Friday our local Garden Club took a 90km trip to a beautiful lavender farm  and its energetic owner, a charming woman who creates beauty as far as she goes. There I met  her neighbour for the second time. We are distant relations; our grandmothers were cousins. Questions were asked about my garden and when I said that my cannas had been very good this year, she invited me to go across to see hers, as they were her pride and joy in a lovely garden. Off we went and luckily along went my camera!

d 2 Cannas c 1 Cannas
b 3 Cannas a 4 Cannas
f 5 cannas e 6 Cannas

I saw cannas in colours I’d never seen before: soft yellows and oranges, gorgeous peachy shades, something she called puce, which I always thought was grey-brown, but I see the dictionary defines as dark red or purple-brown; it is pictured top left, and I would describe it as a dusky red. Leaves in every shade of green, through brown or red-tinged to the dark leaves I have. And bicolours, spotted, striped and fringed, some overlaid, so that when you see a petal from below it is quite different to the view from above.

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And all of them planted in a gorgeous muddle, so that the distinctions between the various shades created a rich texture, and even the pinks which I avoid with my many bright oranges, looked lovely in the mix.

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The whole set in a garden of equal richness, a cottagy mix of colours and plants that I love.

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And the garden in its turn is set in flat farmland plains, with beautiful mountains in the near distance.

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Something really excited me – and that was the way the cannas were at times combined with roses. Usually their colours blended, but my mind started racing… There are many lovely roses that I have always thought too brash and not used. I have visions of combining them now with cannas.

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Other plants can after all contrast dramatically as well as tone in with cannas…

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I have the perfect place for this new planting: right at the entrance to the farm where I am fixing up the Croft Cottage to let out to holiday makers.

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There they can form a dramatic welcome to visitors and contribute to the Croft Cottage’s own immediate setting. Here it is, pictured below: on the far left the hydrangeas and cannas that have featured on my blog during the last ten days can just be seen and the barn is hidden by the tree separating the area in front of Croft Cottage from the massed cannas. To the right is an elm tree (Ulmus parvifolia) and a Pin Oak (Quercus palustris)  that form the lower end of a dense planting along the road. At the moment they are underplanted with azaleas, with the area on their sunny side (on their left) due for development as part of the Croft Cottage’s garden.

Croft Cottage taking shape

I shall replace the azaleas in the shade with a rich mix of blue hydrangeas, and, on a smaller scale than a little further on, plant the slope with a mix of my cousin’s cannas and  brightly coloured roses against a backdrop of climbing roses, clematis and honeysuckle on trellises. What a colour-burst to greet visitors over the Christmas season, the height of our summer holidays! Especially visitors from Europe and America, escaping the cold of a drab winter… I am so excited!

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And so a visit to the garden of a fellow canna enthusiast and distant relation, a beautiful garden of the type I most admire, an unexpected interlude in a lovely afternoon, inspired the perfect solution to a problem I am currently grappling with… I can’t wait for cousin Audrey to visit so that I can show her my garden and how she has helped me to find a solution!

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Thank you, Cousin Audrey!

16 thoughts on “A CORNUCOPIA OF CANNAS

  1. Jack,
    What an amazing display of reds, oranges, yellows, and pinks surrounded by such vibrant greenery. And, wonderful to have found the unexpected inspiration. I would so enjoy a stay at your Croft Cottage, especially during these gray days of winter. I look forward to visiting again as your plans unfold. 🙂

    • Thanks Liisa! I will definitely start writing more about it – I have already created but not yet gone public with an ‘accommodation’ blog linked to this one.

  2. Wow! I love cannas, the brassier the better! I have a lot of different colors and foliage, and I am always looking for something different. One of my favorites is the little ‘orchid canna’.

    What is that flower in the last picture, the pink, spikey one just behind the bird bath?

    • Isn’t it lovely, Janie! I’m actually using that picture as my desktop I love it so much. The spikey plant is a Celosia, an annual, she says. My guess is that it has been self-seeding around her garden for years, although it looks like the most perfect placing, as is so often the case in a cottagey garden!

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  4. Hmmm. And what do you consider a brassy rose? Hybrid tea “Outrageous” maybe? When you remove the azaleas, where will you put them? Surely not on the rubbish heap? Otherwise, idea sounds splashy spiff!


  5. Azaleas: no – large ones are relatively easy to transplant. There are several major changes happening soon, such as a parking area and large shrubs will help to hide the rawness.

    “Outrageous” (on a google search) seems less so than its name implies. Think also of “Las Vegas”, “Tropical Sunset”, “Candy Stripe” and “Burning Sky” if names alone are what we are looking at!

    • This garden was the first I saw with almost as many cannas as I have – but with a much greater variety. Recently Audrey visited and brought me some cannas I don’t have – and I could give her only one in return… It was a bright glistening day and I was thrilled that these pics were as good as they are, for I could see nothing on my screen in the strong light – in fact the final pic has been my desktop ever since then and I just don’t tire of it. (And Audrey was very pleased to see it as my desktop!)

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