Gardeners’ Chronicle, 30(778): 366 (November 23, 1901)


This is correctly represented in the Supplementary Plate of the Gardeners' Chronicle, No. 769, as of "rich orange colour," and not brilliant scarlet, as it is stated at p. 227. In fact there is no scarlet in it, and the yellow "flaming" in the throat is hardly noticeable. This variety has some analogy with America, which remains one of the best of the second lot of Dammann's "creations," but the flowers of Mrs. (not Miss) Kate Gray are larger, of much brighter colour, they have much more substance, and are more freely produced. It was originated at Alhambra, near Los Angeles, in California, in the year 1896, by W. H. Morse, an English gardener, employed at that time by Capt. Gray, and was obtained by fertilising Italia with the pollen of Madame Crozy. Out of the many attempts made, only one seed appeared to ripen, and it came very near to being lost by an accident. Mr. Morse, of course, made very many visits to his Canna, and one morning he was accompanied by a pet Angora cat, who all at once jumped on the plant to catch a humming-bird. Under her weight the stalk of the Canna broke, the bird and the cat went flying in the air, and Mr. Morse picked up the precious seed-podówith what feeling one can imagine; but he was not discouraged, and tried to do the best he could under the circumstances. The solitary seed was well formed and plump, but still soft, and hardly beginning to colour. It was carefully sown, notwithstanding, and it came up in three weeks.

The most noteworthy hybrid I have raised is the Canna Mrs. Kate Gray, This canna was raised at Alhambra in the summer of 1896. Italia was the seed-bearing parent crossed with the pollen from Madam Crozy, the pollen from the leaf stamen being used. One seed was obtained, and since that time neither Italia nor Mrs. Kate Gray can be induced with me to perfect seed. W. H. MORSE

Gardening 10(226): 147 (Feb 1, 1902)

Your California correspondent is mistaken when he says that "Canna Mrs. Kate Gray was obtained by fertilizing Italia with the pollen of Madame Crozy." Italia, and all the other orchid-flowering cannas are infertile, because they are true hybrids amongst different sections of cannas. The raiser of this class of cannas—more beautiful in the south than the French cannas—is the well noted horticulturist, M. Ch. Sprenger, Naples, who has written the most interesting story of his creations in the Revue Horticole, 1901, p. 446. Mrs. Kate Gray is Madame Crozy X Italia as pollen parent. —W. Muller, Naples, in the Gardeners' Chronicle.

Gardening 10(227): 168 (Feb 15, 1902)

ED GARDENING:—I see in GARDENING for February 1, a note copied from the English Gardeners' Chronicle concerning the Canna Mrs. Kate Gray. I hybridized and grew that variety myself, and if any man knows the origin of that variety, I should know it. The cross is Italia, seed bearing parent, with pollen from Madame Crozy. My diary stands thus: "Mr. Hattell and myself tried Italia and Austria; total failure. After three months' constant attempts twice a day, attempts on Austria abandoned. Italia showed several attempts to produce seed but pods all abortive. Constant work as before exclusively on Italia, pod swelling with enough flower to attract the sap; seed sure." Now about this time that little green pod was the idol of the time. Day after day it was worshipped and in my pilgrimages a large cat accompanied me. Now, pussy knew nothing about the seed pod, and a humming bird was busy on the flower spike, puss sprang, bird caught, spike broken, hope gone, but as a last resort the one green seed was planted. Six days after it was through the ground and Mrs. Kate Gray canna was a reality. W. H. MORSE.