I remember walking through a bed of gladiolas when I was only 3 or 4 years old. I have a vivid memory of certain parts of my childhood. The garden was one of them. I thought this particular flower was so beautiful. Being little myself, I was the same height as the flower stalks and could look eye to eye at them. Or actually it was eye to flower. I could see them at a whole new height and angle then an adult. The colors and flowers were so much more vivid that way. To this day I continue to grow gladiolas.
When I was 5 we moved and my dad didn’t have a big enough yard to have a garden. He had a vegetable garden on the other side of town for corn and green beans but he didn’t waste his time on flowers.
When I grew up my husband and I always had a garden and I planted gladiolas wherever and whenever I could. Later my husband joined the Army and we spent several tours in Germany. They grew gladiolas over there and sold them in flower markets. I always bought a batch of them whenever I could.
I think these flowers are sort of a miracle. Look at one sometime and then think of how they grow from just a small bulb. How can something that big and beautiful grow out of a round hard ball of plant material? The glad has been around for a long time. They have improved so much nowadays that you can get almost any color or variety of shades and mixed colors in your flowers. It seemed that when we lived up North in Wisconsin they did much better. I had more luck with them. Down here in the south, by the time they are ready to bloom the hottest part of the summer has arrived and often times they burn up before they bloom.
This year for example, I planted 50 glad bulbs. I got them in kind of late due to the unusual spring we had. They were looking good and then those really hot days the end of June hit us. The grasshoppers moved in and were happy to have the flowers to chew on. I don’t believe in a lot of chemicals on my flowers. We have cats and dogs and lots of birds and we don’t want to poison any of them. So lots of them supplied food for all the hoppers we have in our 5 acre yard. Somehow they managed to miss a few and I have been lucky enough to cut several beautiful ones for the house.
One of them, my favorite, is a yellow with touches of orange in the middle of each smaller flower. The flower stalk is about 2 feet long and has about 6 smaller yellow flowers on it with six unopened ones on top. One of the other ones I picked is a beautiful pink ruffled one. The coloring is sort of a mixture of pink with white streaks in it. Very beautiful. I had some others that were somewhat damaged from the grasshoppers but I picked them and used them in flower arrangements with other flowers.
When I can’t find the real gladiolas I have some silk ones I keep in vase that look similar to real ones. The older I get the more real they look.
I used to see roadside stands with flowers for sale and there was always glads for sale. I really miss seeing that. I don’t think people grow gladiolas like they used to. We have the Farmers Market at the square, maybe we can get some glads sold at it in the future. Has anyone had any? Or am I just missing them?