Get your glads on

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Grow & Tell -

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

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