photo: Canna Bangkok Yellow
2003-05-28. First flower.

May 28th, 2003
Canna ‘Bangkok Yellow’

I bought ‘Bangkok Yellow’ several years ago from Stokes Tropicals and planted it in the south border where it languished in the English ivy. Last fall, I decided to give it a better chance and moved it closer to the other tropical plants where it would get more sun and I’d remember to water it. Since then, it’s thrived.

As canna go, it’s fairly compact, only two to three feet tall. The leaves are pinstriped with a light yellowed white and so far it has better bug and wind resitance than the other canna nearby; so, it’s leaves remain crisp and neat. The flower is a clear yellow, with white stripes.

I grow it in ground, but I’ve read that it’s a great water canna. It goes by several other names, ‘Nirvana’ and ‘Striped Beauty’.

Zanthan Gardens History

Ordered 3 canna online from Stokes Tropical plants.

A dwarf canna with foliage that is outstanding — green leaves with white striping. It’s red bud opens into a clear yellow flower with white throat. Grows very well in water. Amazing Canna that has to be seen to be believed.

First flower ever on the canna which I bought in the mail. It is a clear lemon yellow. One plant is large, one small, and one died.

Since the freeze froze back the canna, move it from the south border to square 2. (Both kinds. The ‘Bangkok Yellow’ and the unknown kind from the RHS seeds which hasn’t bloomed yet). Hoping that additional sun and water will improve performance. Dig in a lot of composted horse manure from the last haul from DF.

First flower this year.

Replanted the canna that I’d left in water in a pot all winter. They had grown a lot of roots and since I’m a little late getting them in they look a bit peaked compared with the ones I transplanted right away. Still this is a good strategy for increasing them.

The sun and triple-digit temperatures make this canna unhappy when it’s not in a pond setting. My other cannas are green, but these want a lot more water than I’m prepared to give them. They’re surviving and perk up whenever it rains. However their leaves are brown. They are not thriving. They look as miserable in this heat as I do.

There are two small groups of canna left. Not a single canna flowered this year. I dug up the ones that got the most sun (south of ‘French Lace’). There were only four left out of a huge bunch a couple of years ago. They have been struggling all summer. I’m not sure they’re large enough to nurse back to health. I should have done this earlier but then this miserable summer has been full of “should haves”.

Cannas like Austin’s wet years better.
photo: Canna Bangkok Yellow
Canna ‘Bangkok Yellow’. 2007-05-28.

First flower on the one in the west square, not the pond.

Raccoons jumped on the pond netting, snapping the canna stalks just flowering and breaking one of the new clay pots that survived the storm.

Fed all the pond plants including the canna that’s not in the pond yet.

First flower: canna ‘Bangkok Yellow’. Now in pond.

One plant in the west square which didn’t get dug up is growing well. Finally put the rest of the cannas back into the pond. I thought they were dead but they began sprouting after all of the rain earlier this month.

photo: Acanthus mollis
2003-05-09. Acanthus mollis. Austin, Texas. (zone 8)

May 9th, 2003
Acanthus mollis

Everyone who visits my garden in April or May is stopped dead in their tracks by Acanthus mollis. It’s so big. And it’s floral spike is bizarre and somewhat menacing.

Acanthus mollis is not really a good landscape plant in Austin, although it can be useful if you have a very shady site. It needs lots of water. As soon as the temperatures reach the 90s, it wilts and looks about as attractive as cooked spinach. Once the summer gets really hot, it fades away leaving a big hole in the border design. But when temperatures cool off in the fall, it’s back again. Fall and winter (if it’s not too cold) are it’s best seasons. In spring, the leaves are often ravaged by spring cankerworms and whatever beetles are about.

It’s one tough plant, though, and keeps coming back despite my neglect. People in more temperate climate consider it a pest.

photo: Acanthus mollis
2003-05-09. Acanthus mollis. Austin, Texas. (zone 8)