Get your glads on
GLADIOLI CORMS can go in any time once frosts have passed. These old-fashioned and stereotyped beauties still have their place in the garden: they grow easily in any good soil in a sunny spot, are excellent as cut flowers, and if retro is your thing then it’s easy to recreate 1960s bouquets with half a dozen glads, lots o of gypsophila and a bit of greenery.
I have a sort-of love-hate re relationship with them. We thought th they would be a fun addition to the g garden and provide lots of colour for a g garden wedding a few years ago, plus w we knew they would be flowering as a all the books say they reliably bloom a about 90 days after being planted.
Yeah. Right. We chose a range of p plain colours - reds, whites, yellow a and pinks - with minimal fluffiness. In they went 100 days out from the w wedding, and I even staggered the p planting over a couple of weeks to be really sure. Come wedding day and not a single glad was in flower. The green flat leaves were there, the stakes were in place, there were even some flower stalks budding up, but not one bloom.
Luckily there were plenty of other flowers so the failed fail-safe plan didn’t matter, but it was a bit irritating.
When planting gladioli, enrich the soil with compost or well-rotted manure, and it’s a good idea to put in stakes for later tying up. Push the bulbs into the soil about 10cm deep and 5cm apart. I like to plant in groups of three, five, seven or nine for good visual impact. Markers such as rocks and driftwood will also protect them after they die down.
Moisture is important through a dry spell so mulch can help, along with weekly watering. Then it’s a matter of waiting for the stately blooms to appear. Tie them up when they do as they are not stable on their stems in the slightest of breezes - one central stake will support a whole clump. Cut off the stem when flowering finishes, but leave the leaves to die down naturally.
Gladioli corms can be left in the ground over winter in temperate areas, but covering them with a layer of hay or straw is a good idea if you get heavy frosts. The corms will multiply over the years and can be divided and shared around the garden and with friends. n