Friday, January 2, 2009

Gladioli of a different sort

Gladiolus is primarily a South African genus, thus it is high on my list of desirable plants for my garden. The red glad in my home garden is an old cultivar, "Atom", which I got from Ellen Hornig. It is a relatively small glad with bright red flowers with a distinctive white picotee edge. Corms left in the ground, but not far from a wall, survived the winter in my school garden last year. The orange speckled glad is G. dalenii, from a garden in Johannesburg, S. Africa. My source probably got it from the wild somewhere. G. dalenii is a very variable species. It is a vigorous plant that produces some of its new corms on stolons, a feature of this species. I dig the corms each year, but some get left behind and seem none the worse for the wear. I've been crossing both of these with more typical gladiolus hybrids and other species, and look forward to seeing the first blooms of the progeny either this year or next year.

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