A letter from Anthony Tesselaar

Jennifer Stackhouse caught up by email with nurseryman Anthony Tesselaar after the severe storm that hit areas around Melbourne in June while those in Greater Melbourne were also in the midst of their fourth COVID lockdown. She was seeking dates for the introduction of Tropicanna and its siblings and received a long emailed letter in response, which she is sharing with HMAA members.

Canna Tropicanna in garden
Tropicanna stands out in the garden amid other plantings especially when backlit by sunlight. Photo: Anthony Tesselaar

Hi Jennifer,
Yes it was a very wild storm. Fortunately for us, no issues, although all along our road in the Reservoir plantations lots of trees were down that I have never seen before. Up in the Mt Dandenong hills many areas have suffered devastation. Having seen tornado damage in plantations in the USA, there definitely were mini tornado storm cells doing all the damage around there. It is like a giant superman just walked through in certain areas and flattened these gigantic 100-year-old trees as though made of plywood.

Update on Tropicannas
On to Tropicannas. We first introduced these into Australia in 1997, with Tropicanna GOLD in 2004 and Tropicanna BLACK in 2008.
I still recall when I first showed Tropicanna to the American Garden Writers in the USA in 2006, they literally were grabbing my arm and saying: “I have to get one of these”, “…this will revolutionise the canna market”, “Never seen anything like this.”

Tropicanna was such a huge success as it was the first time that a canna variety dragged cannas out from just being a, well, a ho-hum plant. It brightened up any part of the garden it was planted in and when in large numbers it is superb.

Tropicanna at MIFGS
Mass planted Tropicanna at a past Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show. Photo: Anthony Tesselaar

What REALLY makes it stand out is when you get the sun as a backlight through the leaves (as in the garden shot of Tropicanna). I do not think there is a plant out there that can excite such enthusiasm from the kaleidoscope of colour it then shows.
All the Tropicanna series now are initiated in tissue culture providing clean, stunning-looking plants.
Jennifer, am I excited about these! Yes I always have been and I think Tropicanna was one of the better finds and introductions in recent years and one that still today stands alone among all equals. All the best and hope you are well.

With kindest regards,

Anthony…and Sheryl too

Comments are closed.