I have often tried to grow Canna Lillies in England but with not a lot of success. I have managed to get them to flower but they have always been rather poor specimens, rarely getting much above 60cm high. I was always envious of the specimens that would adorn the central reservation and roundabouts in the coastal towns of Charente Maritime such as Fouras and Rochefort so now I am going to try again and hopefully, with the advantage of warmer weather and bright sunny days I will achieve something approaching the splendid examples that you often see in French seaside towns.
I do not really have flower beds as such in my garden so I decided to plant them in front of the house and close to two drain pipes so that when/if it rains they will get a bit of extra water. After two hours of digging out rocks, broken glass and bits of old pottery I had prepared two small beds. I was hoping to find some old coins but the nearest I got was two rusty nails.
The Cannas divided up into 6 bits and were planted at the back of the beds. I had also been given some other corms which I believe are what my father used to call Montbretia and have recently been rebranded as Crocossmias by the gardening trendies such as Carol Klein . They come in lots of different shades from yellow through to deep red but the bog standard ones were always an orangey brown colour. These grow shorter and I have planted them at the front of the bed.
Both our neighbours have been out to pass judgement. One said I should put a pile of grass mowings over them for the winter as it would protect them from the hardest frosts and the other said they need a lot of water, so now I know what to do!
Many thanks to Kourosh and Amelia who provided me with the plants – I hope I can do them justice.