A gor­geous ‘glad’ dis­play

Their tall stems make a strik­ing state­ment in the gar­den or a vase

Garden News (UK) - - What To Do This Week -

Glad­i­oli, or glads as they’re often re­ferred to, make a good late sum­mer and early au­tumn cut flower that can eas­ily be grown at home. Their tall spikes have a stately look to them and they come in a wide range of bright, pas­tel and rich colours that can be ar­ranged sim­ply on their own or used in mixed dis­plays to gain height and a spiky ef­fect.

The au­tumn flower shows are a great place to see the won­der­ful range of colours, but if you want to grow your own, you’ll have to wait un­til early next spring to be able to buy the corms. When buy­ing glad­i­oli corms it’s im­por­tant that you buy large, plump corms in or­der to get strong, tall flower spikes. The big­ger the corms, the bet­ter the flow­ers, so avoid cheap bags of small mixed corms as you can be dis­ap­pointed!

Grow out­side in fer­tile, well-drained soil and a sunny po­si­tion. Plant­ing can start in late March and con­tinue un­til the end of April or even early May.

For cut flow­ers it’s eas­i­est to plant the corms in rows 15cm (6in) apart and about 10cm (4in) deep. The temp­ta­tion is to plant all the corms at the same time but stag­ger­ing plant­ing over sev­eral weeks will ex­tend the flow­er­ing season.

As the fo­liage grows, to give a lit­tle sup­port to tall-grow­ing va­ri­eties push some twiggy branches into the soil be­tween them or grow them through a net sus­pended around 45cm (1½ft) off ground level.

The ideal time to cut the flow­ers for max­i­mum vase life is when the first few flow­ers at the base of the stem open, al­though if you al­low a few more to open the stems will have in­stant im­pact in the vase. They can be used in many dif­fer­ent styles of ar­range­ment, but I think a bunch of glads with just a lit­tle fo­liage is all you need.

Glad­i­oli are one of the eas­i­est cut flow­ers to grow in the gar­den

Glad­i­oli often work best when sim­ply ar­ranged on their own in a tall vase with a li le fo­liage

For­mer head gar­dener, TV and ra­dio broad­caster and RHS judge

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