I have been going down to my basement and avoiding to look at the covered up boxes and racks in the southeast corner ever since last year's killing frost. No, I will not be a candidate for any people murder-mystery shows but I could be a candidate for a canna murder show.

The story is long and winding. Last year I invested in gardening soil for 60 feet of flower bed for cannas in the car park at the end of my driveway. The yellow Volkswagen Rabbit is the only car in the park and it gets excellent gas mileage as it had its engine replaced with flower beds. This car has an excellent pedigree as it has been on a number of stages around the country and ended its career with a final performance on the Walker Art Center stage. I became a retired stage car rescuer and gave it a home so it could watch cars go by and still have dignity and be admired.

The car park does not have world-class gardening soil and besides even if it did, I did not have the energy to work it for a 60-foot bed along the south edge. That is where the soil purchase came in and my neighbors overwintered canna supply came to the car park. The rains were plentiful and the bugs low so the cannas thrived. Mother Nature brought fall and that included a killing frost which meant that if I wanted to have my own cannas I needed to dig up the bulbs. I just could not say, “Hey neighbors Rose and Tony, be sure you overwinter enough cannas so that I can replant next year.” Remember I said they thrived.

I ended up doing a back breaking dig of about a third of the bed and had a trailer full of heavy clumps with a lot of muddy objects to haul in before the real frost came. So into the garage they went and I spent days chipping at them and bringing in a crate or so to the basement to be boxed up. The soil piled up and in fact did not get back to the growing area so the pickup is spending the winter outside the garage.

I asked Rose her secret for keeping these puppies going year to year and I did lots of research and found out there were almost hundreds of ways to do the trick. It seemed like it almost had to be totally OK to do almost anything to make them survive. I mostly used Rose's advice and used crates until I ran out of them and then boxes with holes punched in them to store them with newspaper applied here and there. I then stacked and covered them and then added a few quilts over the whole arrangement and said a little prayer of hope that they would overwinter. In many years of trying canna storage, I have not had any success but that was only a very small amount so it was not a big deal if they did not live. Now this is a BIG DEAL as I have spent days of work and just thinking of having to haul a mess back up the basement steps makes me think of running away from home.

I just can't bring myself to look to see if they are OK and would be ready for spring planting out. There is no smell and I did not see any liquid or icky stuff in that area so I say no smell is a good thing. I tell myself I should look so I can be prepared for what has happened. Plant out or clean out. Does someone want to come over and check it out?