Last year I had a magnificent 12 ft purple banana plant in the Orangery (alas, no more) and I would tease visitors by asking them where it came from. The tentative replies included “China”, “Brazil”, “South Africa”. “Homebase” I would triumphantly answer. Indeed, Homebase is one of the best sources for gardening exotica and when the 12 ft specimen succumbed to the cold last winter I found its replacement in their “pot plant” department for a fiver.
The plant pictured here is a canna, also bought at Homebase for a fiver. I planted it in June; it came into flower in August and has been in flower ever since. Now, after a couple of frosts, it’s time to put it to bed for the winter. Cannas are liable to be killed by the cold if they are left in the ground, so it’s best to lift them and keep them in a cool dry place inside, removing the leaves first, with no care required except to keep them slightly damp. But first, I split them. This single plant has grown so strongly over the summer (without any feeding) that it’s now at least five. That works out at one pound each. Good old Homebase.