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The Canary Flower

The Canary Flower

The Canary Flower creeper was known in the gardens as Tropaeolum canariense, but its recognised botanical name was T. aduncum or T. peregrinum. Hibberd believed it had come to Britain, not from the Canary Islands, but from New Granada. Perhaps, he mused, the canary attribution came from its canary-like colour.

It was an amusing creeper, wandering happily over any trellis or support it could find, peeking in windows and saying “How d’ye do?” at that very moment you did not wish to be disturbed. Its great joy was in its “rampant, rambling, and ill-regulated ambition to overstep everything and everybody” and could be used to great effect in many areas of the garden.

The five-lobed leaves of this creeper were mostly circular and peltate and like a buckler, while the flowers were helmet-like. It grew very rapidly but was susceptible to red-mite spider during hot and dry weather.

The Canary Flower was a half-hardy annual and needed to be seeded out in February or March, grown on in a hotbed (where its size often needed to be checked) before being planted out in the desired location. By Late April the seeds could also be sown direct into the garden bed.

Information and image taken from F. Edward Hulme and Shirley Hibberd, Familiar Garden Flowers (Cassell, Peter, Galpin and Co.: London: c. 1890), 5 vols.

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