I Canna Believe It’s You!

Once the Elephant Ears were cleaned and planted, it was time to turn my attention to Canna.  Like their large-leaved companions, Canna are also over-wintered in brown paper bags filled with peat moss and then stored in the cement bunker at a steady, cool temperature.  (One year, I stored them in the garage, which was too cold and too moist.  The result was a smelly, mushy mess.)

For this demonstration, I’ll use my absolute most favorite Canna, “Black Knight.”  The leaves are big and bold and bronzy red, with hot red blooms.  And the rhizomes, well, they’re meaty.  That’s right.  Meaty.

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100th Post: Water For Elephant Ears

Attractive, aren’t they?

The last time I saw my Elephant Ears, they were clipped back, packed into peat moss, and stored in a cement bunker.  With the very warm April temperatures, I couldn’t resist opening up their winter palace.  But unlike Geraldo Rivera and Al Capone’s vault, I found my treasure.

 1. After a long winter’s nap, the stems, leaf remnants, and roots have withered from tropical green to paper bag brown.

2. To clean each bulb, I shake off the excess peat moss and dirt.  Then, it’s time to husk the dead leaves, stems, and roots. 

3. It takes a little effort, but once cleaned, there is usually a pinkish shoot at the heart of all that brown – the promise of new growth.

4. Some bulbs may still have healthy looking roots.  These I leave on – might as well give the bulbs a head start once they’re planted. 

 5. This Elephant Ear collection began years ago with the purchase of one bulb. Over time, smaller bulbs developed, like the one pictured here (toward the right), and these can eventually be separated, either manually or on their own.  I’ve also learned that the bigger the bulb, the larger the leaf.  But the smaller bulbs also have value – they can be kept in pots and moved around the garden as filler.

6. To plant the bulbs, the toughest part is choosing the right sized pot.  I add some potting soil to the pot, settle the bulb into place (shoot side facing up, of course), and then fill until the crown is just below the surface. 

7. I’m sure I make more work for myself by first potting the Elephant Ear bulbs.  With the pots, however, I feel I have more control over the plants.  If there should be a frost, I can move the collection indoors.  If a bulb fails to bloom, I won’t have an empty area in the garden.

8. Once planted, I place the pots in a sunny location and water daily.  These are tropical, and they thrive on heat and moisture.  Once they develop leaves, it’s into the garden they go – usually to a partial shade location.

A special thank you to Elaine from Ramblings from Rosebank for suggesting that I post a few photos of Elephant Ears in their glory days of summer.  


Next Post: I Canna Believe It’s You

Bloomin’ Update 20: Bulbalicious!

The other day when I pulled into the driveway and stepped from my car, I was overcome by the sweet perfume scent of Hyacinths.  It’s a smell that I call intoxicating.  In fact, I’ve referred to this scent as intoxicating so often and for so many years that it has become a sort of running joke between myself and Joe. 

“Can you smell that?” I begin.  “It’s . . . “

“I know, I know,” answers Joe.  “It’s intoxicating.”

Now I’m thinking of breaking out of predictability with a new description for Hyacinth — and I’m going with Bulbalicious.  I figure if the vernacular can work for Beyonce, why not Hyacinth?

While Hyacinth may be the headliner on the Spring stage, we mustn’t overlook the supporting bloomers.  Afterall, we all know what happened to Diana Ross & the Supremes.  Besides, these back-up harmonizers are all Bulbalicious in their own right.

Tulip — a little shy now, but emerging slowly.

What’s her name again?  I’m not sure what to call this dainty flower, but she’s reliable.

Watch out for Muscari.  With a name like that, she’s the vixen of the bunch, and she just might push Hyacinth out of the spotlight.  In fact, I believe she’s exploring a film role as a tree in a Dr. Seuss movie.

At this time of year, I have all the drama and diva attitudes I can handle right in the garden. What’s that I hear? “And I am telling you, I’m not going. . . You’re gonna love me . . .”  

Bulbalicious all the way.