I was a little late this year in planting my much-waited-for Gladioli ‘Laguna’ and, because of that, I was worried about digging them back up too early in case they hadn’t had time to set decent corms. I’ve been watching them like a hawk and when I saw some leaves starting to turn a little brown at the tips I was out there with my mini-fork digging them up. I had a bit of a disappointing display from these bulbs, I must admit – but I’m now thinking I might have overcrowded them a little. When I was younger I loved gladioli – especially butterfly species, because I could plant a big bucket full of them and up they’d come as an amazing floral display, not worrying about any staking for the most part as each was acting as a windbreak for the other. I’ve never really understood the appeal of growing them in rows or as single flowers as they look beautiful in clumps and drifts – especially if you want to have some cut flowers for inside.
When I spied the ‘laguna’ variety I had to have it. Really weird looking green flowers with purple tips? Funky! Unfortunately after one or two spectacular spikes the rest failed to thrive – most of them shrivelling. I checked for thrips (as the commonest suggested cause for flower wilt) but there was no leaf discolouration and now I’ve dug up the bulbs I can see they’re all healthy (with thrips they’d have been damaged) so I can squarely place the blame on myself – next year more water and more feed, especially if I’m going to stuff a lot into a planter. When I grew mine ‘back in ye olde days of childhoode’ I lived on the west coast which is much wetter and I don’t remember any particularly super-hot years when I grew gladioli – meaning I only had to water them infrequently to get the correct moisture. Over here, on the east coast, it’s so much drier than I’m used to and this summer was a scorcher which, combined with my having to lug water from upstairs meant that quite a few of my plants probably got less water than they should have.
I was also slightly saddened that as they matured the flowers became far more yellow than green, as you can see in the pictures above. The immature, half opened ones are a lovely shade of green-yellow which looked nice against the omnipresent ORANGE fence. You can also see one of the failing ones in the background of the first photo – the blooms never actually opened fully on that spike.
Luckily it doesn’t seem to have affected corm growth too much as I’ve ended up with double growth on most corms – some triple and one or two with four full sized corms from one parent. They’re all big and healthy and are now drying out peacefully in the hallway before I clean and store them for the winter!
The planter that they came out of is now home to a pile of mixed daffodil bulbs for spring – not packed so tightly, though ;)