Gla­di­o­lus species

Garden News (UK) - - Garden Of The Week -

When we first moved here nearly 30 years ago, a few tall stems of vi­brant ma­genta flow­ers sud­denly ap­peared in the middle of a tan­gle of weeds. They had the same struc­ture and sim­i­lar flow­ers to the glad­i­oli grown in rigid rows in the veg gar­dens of my youth, but there the re­sem­blance ended. These were re­laxed, laid-back flow­ers with a nat­u­ral grace and el­e­gance.

Gar­den­ers can be very snob­bish about glad­i­oli but

G. com­mu­nis byzanti­nus is such a ras­cally plant, most are en­chanted by it. Our ma­genta gla­di­o­lus was iden­ti­fied as G. com­mu­nis byzanti­nus, but there are sev­eral other ma­genta species. One, G.

itali­cus, , is a corn­field weed and avoids de­struc­tion by pulling its corms down deeper than the plough can reach.

When G. byzanti­nus fin­ishes flow­er­ing, its seed pods turn brown and open. In the Scilly Isles it’s known as ‘whistling Jack’ due to the strange noise made when the wind rushes through them.

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