December 7, 2019

The Perfect Blendship

Gladiolus 'Friendship'

Janine Pineo Photo | Gladiolus ‘Friendship’

Summer-flowering bulbs will richly reward gardeners who remember to plant them during the busy planting season in spring. The payoff is in spectacular blossoms such as Gladiolus ‘Friendship.’ The sword-like foliage is the source of the name, taken from the Latin gladius for “a sword.” A glad couldn’t be easier to plant, just putting the corm — a relative of the bulb — into the ground several inches (we usually don’t go more than three) and covering it up. Make sure you have a sunny location and well-drained soil, and you should reap glorious flowers in late summer. When the flower spike develops, the color continues for days as the blooms open from the base to the tip. As a genus, gladiolus is a curious one; of the 260 species, 250 are native to South Africa in one small region of the world known as the Cape Floristic Region, one of six floral kingdoms in the world.