Question: I planted cannas several years ago and they have multiplied. I’d like to move some of them to a different location. When is the best time to transplant them?
In the University of Tennessee Extension Master Gardener Handbook, cannas are listed among the “tender bulbs and bulblike plants” along with caladiums, dahlias and gladiolus. At one time, it was recommended that these tubers be dug up and stored to protect them from the cold, but most gardeners in Middle Tennessee (Zone 7a) now find that they make it through winter just fine, especially if they spend winter under a blanket of mulch.
If you want to move them, an opportunity for doing so is coming up. According to the handbook, cannas can be dug in the fall after the foliage has been killed by frost. Allow the tubers to dry for a couple of days, then store them in a cool location (50 degrees or so – a garage or basement, perhaps) where they won’t dry out completely. The Old Farmer’s Almanac suggests storing them in peat moss or wrapping them in newspaper, and sprinkling them with a bit of water every now and then during the winter. Next spring, plant the tubers in a sunny spot when the soil has warmed to 65 degrees.
You may also wait until spring to divide the tubers. Mark their location now, and in the spring, use a garden fork to dig carefully and lift the tubers from the ground. Separate them, cut off any rotten or diseased bits, and replant them. Cannas do best in a location where they receive full sun.
Garden events in Middle Tennessee
Now – Oct. 31: Cheekwood Harvest Fall Festival includes scarecrows along the garden paths, a pumpkin patch, guided garden tours and nearly 5,000 autumn-hued chrysanthemums in the Robertson Ellis Color Garden, planted specifically for Cheekwood Harvest. The full schedule is at www.cheekwood.org.
Sept. 28: Welcoming Fall Wildflower Hike at Shelby Bottoms NatureCenter. A short naturalist-led hike for all ages, 10 – 11 a.m. Call (862-8539) or email (email@example.com) to register.
At Warner Park Nature Center, Deb Beazley leads adults on a stroll through a meadow to enjoy the fall wildflowers, 9 – 11 a.m. Call 352-6299 to register.
October 3: An Evening with David Haskell, author of the award-winning book The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature, 7 p.m. at WarnerParkNatureCenter. Haskell discusses his year-long observation of one tiny patch of forest on the Cumberland Plateau in this program for adults. Call 352-6299 to register.
October 5: Williamson County Master Gardeners Association Bloom ‘n’ Garden Fall Plant Sale, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Historic Carnton Plantation in Franklin, Tenn. On-site plant and insect disease ID available. Proceeds from the sale benefit community garden projects of the WCMGA. No admission charge; guests can tour Carnton Plantation grounds and outbuildings for $5. http://wcmga.net.
October. 5 (and every weekend this month): At Cheekwood, Garden Tales Storytime, where favorite nature-themed books spring to life through songs, dance and interactive reading, 10:30 a.m. Saturdays.
Guided Garden Tours at Cheekwood,” 11 a.m. each Saturday, noon every Sunday. Visit www.cheekwood.org for the complete schedule.
October 11: Happy Harvest Time at Shelby Bottoms Nature Center. Naturalist Christie Wiser helps make eating fresh produce more fun for pre-K kids (3 – 5 years old), as they learn about veggies that are harvested from local gardens and farms. 10 – 11 a.m.; call 862-8539 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
Oct. 12 – 13: Nashville Rose Society’s annual Rose Show will be held at Cheekwood In Botanic Hall. Show is open the public 1 – 4:30 p.m. Oct. 12, and 11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Oct. 13.. Free with Cheekwood admission.
October 19: Extreme Pumpkin Carving with pumpkin sculptor Lundy Cupp, who turns ordinary pumpkins into detailed works of art. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art. Cheekwood admission. www.cheekwood.org.
October 26: The Herb Society of Nashville presents Herb Day. This year’s theme, Oktoberfest, features sausage-making, beer lore and inside gardening 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Cheekwood’s Botanic Hall. Admission (includes lunch, lectures, music and vendors) $45; $40 if you register before Oct. 12. To learn more and to register: www.herbsocietynashville.org.