Thursday, January 26, 2012

Happy Happy Happy

Or, just plain Glad! 
Oh, there's nothing plain about Glads - better known as Gladiolus. 

If they're so beautiful, so easy, and make everyone so glad, why don't we see them in gardens more often?  My guess it's the whole daunting thing about planting those little bulb-like things in the spring and digging them up in late fall.  So friends I'm here today to debunk all the reasons you may offer for not having glads - or being glad - or glad handing. . . . . .

First, a little history:  Gladiolus is from the Latin word gladius meaning a sword.  It's in the iris family and is considered a bulb known as a corm.  It is sometimes called the sword lily and they are mostly native to Africa.  They have a rich relationship with insects both for pollinating, use of nectar and are food for some larvae.

Glads have been extensively hybridized and are a major product for florists.  Glads symbolize strength and moral integrity.  They represent infatuation, with a bouquet conveying to a recipient that they pierce the giver’s heart with passion.

Glads are the "birth flower" for August birthdays and 40th wedding anniversary flowers. And there is a whole boat load of things you could know about glads but let's just move on to your garden and mine.

First, glad corms may be purchased individually or in bulk.  They can be fairly cheap from a big box store.  They can be a new hybrid and only one will cost as much as a new pair of shoes.  There are other differences between cheap and expensive.  Cheap bulbs tend to be smaller and you pay more for larger.  Smaller bulbs means smaller stems, flowers and perhaps production.  Cheaper usually means not as many color choices.

Here's the test:  If you buy glads and simply cannot make yourself dig them up each fall - buy cheap.  You're what we call "Cazzzzz" or the casual lover of glads.  If you're more into glads, then move down to the next paragraph and get GLAD!

You can get beautiful hybrid glads in the medium price range - about 8 for $10.  The flowers may be larger, have color combinations that are wild and wowzer, texture may be pearlized or velvet, and the edges may be ruffled.  IF you dig up your glad corms each fall - the price of good bulbs becomes so much cheaper if you think how many years you will use that same bulb or some of it's babies.  

Here's some things to know when planting glad corms: 
They like sun and well drained soil that gets plenty of moisture.
Start planting about the time the leaves start to come on your trees.
Plant in intervals of two weeks and you'll have weeks worth of blooms.
If it's dry, water once a week.
Apply liquid fertilizer about every ten days from when buds appear to when flowers are in bloom.
Dig up before it frosts.  Trim off any leaves to about one inch above corm.  Don't trim down the leaves prior to digging up because you will forget where they are - I promise.
Store in a cool, frost free, well ventilated place.  I lay them on newspapers on my basement shelf.  Others hang them in old nylon stockings from a nail.  They shouldn't dry out totally or be so wet they mold.

If you plant one color together, it usually gives more impact.
Planting around perennial flowers and bushes helps to hold them up when it's windy.  Otherwise, you may want to stake and tie them. 

I tuck them around my daylilies (being careful not to damage the daylily roots).  They can look nice near perennials that bloom in the spring.  It's a way to add color to an area where it is mostly green leaves in the summer/fall. 

I mostly use my glads for bouquets/cutting so I'm less than caring about where they are in relation to other plants. 

It's so easy to get glad!  

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