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The Gardener's Guide to Growing Cannas

The Gardener's Guide to Growing Cannas
Ian Cooke
Timber Press
Publication Date: 

cloth, 160 p., $29.95

Cannas, once the mainstay of public gardens, are much in vogue in home gardens, reflecting the trend of the "canna, banana" trend in tropicals for Northern gardens. Large, flamboyant leaves, striped and multihued in new cultivars; pastel-colored flowers; and new, dwarf-sized plants are bringing a reassessment of canna's use in gardens. Their large size and dominant form bring an excitement and verve to conventional borders.

In this guidebook, Ian Cooke surveys the lineage, botany, cultivation and commercial production of cannas, and he provides an A-to-Z directory of cultivars. The most useful section of the book is devoted to the plant's place in the garden, however. Because cannas can grow 8 to 10 feet tall and sometimes produce garish flowers, they can be difficult to position properly in a garden. Photographs in the book show their use in mixed borders and in containers. Good companion plants are listed.

The author, a canna specialist, has created a fine monograph for the Timber Press series of gardening guides. It fills a gap in the literature on cannas, appealing to both casual gardeners and collectors alike.

— Adele Kleine, Library Volunteer and Master Gardener, Chicago Botanic Garden; contributing writer,Chicagoland Gardening magazine