■ Gladioli arrive as dry corms to plant 4-6in (10-15cm) deep and 6-8in (15-20cm) apart. They need plenty of sunshine and good, well-drained soil.
■ For the best results from large-flowered varieties, water during droughts and feed a few times with high-potash fertiliser. I never water or feed ours, on improved clay soil.
■ The taller kinds sometimes topple if not planted deeply enough. A few canes with criss-crossing twine will keep them upright.
■ After flowering, foliage gradually dies back. In colder regions, lift the corms before serious frosts begin. Cut away remaining leaves, leaving 1in (2½cm) behind and store frost-free.
Plant your corms 6-8in (15-20cm) apart