Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Glads that Could

Looks like a gladiolus opening up its flower spike, doesn't it.   And it is.  I took this picture right after the flood that struck the Triple Cities of upstate NY the first week of September (due to Tropical Storm Lee).

But there is quite a story behind the Glads That Could.  A story of beating impossible odds, defying neglect, and blooming where you are planted.
I haven't grown glads in years. When I first started gardening in 1978 (started because I finally had land - I had been aching to garden since at least 2nd grade, but living in a NYC apartment building doesn't do much for that feeling) my reference book was the Gurney's catalog.  In those days, they were located in Yankton, South Dakota.  I was located in Wichita, KS and their offerings were just right for the zone 6 prairie climate of Wichita.  Scorching summers, short but cold winters, lots of sun, lots of wind.

I fell in love with their glads.  Although we had to dig them up every fall before hard frost, they would come back the following spring and give us spikes of lovely blooms in the summer.  Then, in 1981, we moved away from Kansas from good.

Glads fell out of favor in the gardening world.  It may have been due to an association with funeral home bouquets, some say. But we didn't try to grow glads again - until last year.  By then we were solid residents of zone 5 upstate NY.

A local supermarket had a clearance on glads.  Although there is such a thing as hardy glads now, I don't think these were then.  I confirmed with spouse, who would have to do the digging up (I have back problems) and he agreed to buy a package of six as an experiment.

We planted them on the side of our house.  They never bloomed. (I think they weren't getting enough sun.)  We forgot about them.  Fall faded into winter, winter dumped snow and cold all over us, and we never gave them a thought.

Sometime in late spring, I saw these blades coming up.  We have daffodils and irises planted on the side of our house.  I had no idea what these were.  My spouse, who has a better memory, remembered at once.

The glads!  They had survived our harsh winter of 2010-2011 (almost 118 inches of snow at the airport).  But would they bloom?

It rained and rained this spring. (if you live in Texas, that's where your rain was.)  A heat wave struck in July.  The rains returned in August.  It rained and it rained and it rained and....finally the rivers (we have two) cried uncle, and spread all over our land.

When we were able to return to our house on September 11, I took pictures of my blooming plants for use with Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.  I didn't include this one because it was in a vase by then.

This glad was actually the second to bloom.  One, a similar color, had already bloomed in late August.  The third one is opening now.  The blooms are orange.  One more plant has a flower stalk. Whether it will make it to the frost is unknown, as we may come close to having frost tomorrow night.

No matter.  These glads have shown the character we admire in people - and then some.


  1. What a nice post. Found you via Twitter and the Ultimate Blog Challenge. Come over and visit us. We would love to have you.

  2. I visited your Facebook sight and will be "liking" it. I will be happy to post my Sunday posts on your Facebook page. Thank you for the kind words and the opportunity!

  3. Of course I meant "site" and not "sight". Ah well, tomorrow will be another day.


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