Guest Author - Hellie T.
Planted in English Garden since the 18th century these flowers come in a wide range of colours from whites, yellows, pinks, oranges and reds.
Its name "gladiolus" comes from the Latin word gladius, which means "sword,"- the shape of its leaves. In the language of flowers it means -
I’m sincere and generosity
When you are choosing your gladioli, the best ones are the hardy gladioli.
Hardy corms are smaller than the tender kinds and are usually easy to come by. The larger corms produce plants with as you would expect larger blooms but these need more care with enriched soil and staking early so you are better of with the smaller corms that are less work and look better in an English Garden.
How to plant corms
They prefer a sunny sheltered spot with rich, well drained soil – in front of a sunny wall would be good. They will grow in partially shaded areas as long as they get half a day’s sun.
For best results plant corms in groups of 5 or 7.
With the pointed side up plant at 4 inches deep and 4 inches apart. To improve drainage you can place a handful of gravel under each corm as you plant them.
As they grow make sure their soil does not dry out and remember that they will need probably need staking if not in a sheltered spot as their flower spikes are prone to blow over and break.
If you plant some in April/May, then 10 days later plant another batch and so on until the end of June. This will give you a succession of lovely blooms from July to the end of September
After your gladioli have flowered let the frost kill the foliage and then dig them up, cut off any remaining stems. Store them in a frost free, dry and airy place.
Gladioli are good for cut flowers as well as in the garden.
Nanus Mixed grow to 2 foot or 60cm
Pastel mixtures are good these usually grow a bit taller - as do butterfly mixtures.
An easy hardy variety to grow is Gladiolus byzantinue - 'Whistling Jacks', which can be left in the ground all the year round. It is easier to grow than the modern large flowered varieties and has purplish-rose coloured flowers. Plant as above