Although we prefer plants that can look after themselves, especially in the winter, there are somewhere we make an exception because they are exceptional. We are growing Cannas this year after a long break because we really wanted something on our terrace with great foliage and spectacular flowers. They come from the tropics so can only be grown outside in the warmer months and have to go away for the winter.
They will be in pots so they can be moved around to find the right spot and at the end of the year they will be dug up and the rhizomes stored until next year.
We bought them by mail order in January and we expect them to arrive in the Spring. What should turn up in the post are the rhizomes (looks like a bulb but is actually an underground stem). On arrival we will put them one to a small pot, cover them with compost and leave them somewhere out of the cold, probably the garage.
At this stage, there shouldn’t be much, if any, green growth showing. We will plant them out in their big pots, three in each, once the chance of all frost has passed. We wouldn’t chance it before the middle of May and more likely at the end of the month. If we take care of them properly they should last year after year, which is a good thing as they are not cheap to buy.
We have chosen two varieties (three of each):
CANNA “CANNOVA BRONZE ORANGE”
It’s the flowers that are orange and the flower stalks should reach a height of three feet with dark leaves that look like those of a banana (to which Cannas are related). We bought them from Parkers of Manchester, three for £16.98 delivered.
CANNA “TROPICANNA BLACK”
The red flowers should be on three-foot stalks with very dark leaves. These three are from Unwins for a total delivered price of £18.46. Roses, to put it mildly, are not without their problems, diseases, thorns, pruning etc. Whilst we do try to keep our use of pesticides to the minimum we believe that it really isn’t possible to grow roses successfully without them. We use ready to spray Roseclear. It controls the major diseases and greenfly all in one go but you have to keep it up through the season. Only one in the list below has thorns, the rest, either have no thorns at all or have very few. Not much we can do about pruning but you can get away with only doing it once a year. So here are some roses that we have grown in the past or we grow today in our garden which we think have something to offer despite the drawbacks.
ROSA “ZEPHIRINE DROUHIN”
It has two real assets, it is thornless and the pink blooms have a strong fragrance. It can be made to climb up to about 7 or 8 feet so it’s not vigorous. It is however very susceptible to fungal diseases.
ROSA BANKSIAE “LUTEA”
The Yellow Banksian Rose. Another thornless rose. The flowers are small and yellow and has no scent. It is absolutely magnificent trained over a large wall or fence. If you have a big enough space it is well worth a try. This rose is not cheap to buy but there is no other rose like it.
ROSA “WARM WELCOME”
We have 18 of these in our garden and we chose them because the orange flowers appear early and go on all year. Whilst it doesn’t have much scent it is perfect against the six-foot fence which goes all around our back garden and doesn’t get much taller. It is however very thorny.
We inherited this one. A very vigorous climber with huge cream blooms and a great scent. It has thorns but not as many as “Warm Welcome”.
ROSA “BLUSH NOISETTE”
This is another we have chosen to go up the fence and should not go much higher. Flowers summer to autumn and is fragrant. So far it has not grown many thorns.
You should be able to get these roses in any good garden centre.