Way back in winter, when garden daydreams grow larger and larger and the Growing Kindness Project plans were escalating, I ordered some gladiola corms. The first order was simply a standard mix of white, pink, orange, “blue” which is always more purple, green, red, and yellow. I also ordered some of the “dwarf” mix called “Glamini,” which are only supposed to be 24-36″ tall and might be better in bouquets. I’ve never really grown gladiolas, other than a small trial of “hardy gladiolas” two years ago which did not please me because a) they were all shades of pink or red and b) they weren’t hardy, at least where I live.
As my dreams grew and the lists of bouquet combinations multiplied, I decided there was a need for more glads so more white, white with green, white with yellow, green, white with purple for early summer were ordered. I had dreams of summer and fall bouquets, because I planned to succession plant but when I ran the numbers, I felt I needed yet more gladiolas, so another order was placed. White goes with everything, so another 100 were ordered. And the “Merlot Ice” and “Blue Isle” were added to go with the burgundy of fall-toned sunflowers and the dahlia tubers also ordered.
Then I read a post about planting glad corms early indoors in crates! Could I have some of the dwarf glads in pretty pastels to go with late tulips, hellebores and other spring crops? Why not give it a try? So another order for Glamini corms in soft pastel colors was placed.
I spent hours making a planting schedule, working out the colors that needed to be planted to go with the crops that should be available at that time. Glad corms take about 90 days to bloom, so I planned weekly plantings. I added more green to go with the green centered early sunflowers and “Plum Tart” to go with the burgundy tones of autumn sunflowers and more burgundy dahlias.
I was SO organized and pumped up, ready to be filled with “GLAD”ness! There were 800 gladiola corms headed my way! All I had to do was plant them and wait to harvest. I prepped my crates and was ready to go, watching the calendar for my first planting date of April 1st.
The first scheduled planting day arrived, but sadly no gladiolas had! Shipping was running much later than usual. I was chomping at the bit, so on an errand run in town I ventured into the local Menard’s store and sure enough, there was a luscious, tempting display of bulbs. I picked up three packages: a rosy white-throated beauty called “Rhapsody Lavender,” a fancy purple one called “Vista” and a lovely peachy “Princess Margaret Rose.”
So, I planted the first crate with some of each color and put the rest of the bulbs in a box in the basement. As the orders began to arrive, I planted the second, third and fourth crates as scheduled and put the leftover corms in the box. The corms sprouted and grew. When the weather settled I moved them onto the patio.
As always, this was a very, very busy time of year and other than watering when needed not much attention was given to the corms. But then it was time to begin outdoor in-ground plantings so I took a box of glads out to the field to begin planting. I began with the “Princess Margaret Rose” because I knew she was going to be one of my favorites, but when I pulled a corm out of the package, it was covered with tiny gray aphid-like insects. I could see that the new shoots emerging from the corm were already damaged from their sucking. Drats! A quick check of the other Menard packages found those bulbs also covered with insects and a few had migrated to the packages from other companies. I threw away those from Menards and put the others in a container with diatomaceous earth, gave it a shake and let it sit. Then I went to check the crates.
By this time, all four crates looked like this…brown and white streaked leaves. Crate 1 was the worst, but since all had been side by side for weeks in the basement and usually outside as well it was no surprise that all four were infected.
Fortunately, since there were too many corms for one box, about half the orders were in another box and hopefully they are not contaminated. Nothing was found upon inspection, but then the newly opened packages from Menards had looked fine, too. Of course, I hadn’t been really looking for anything, and the lighting in the basement is not that terrific in the cool storage area where the bulbs were kept. I’m guessing they are thrips, which are notorious in gladiolas. They can come from the soil, but since I used sterile potting mixture I doubt they came from the soil.
So, now I wait and see if Box 2 corms were okay. And I’ve planted some of the corms that were treated with DE in another, separate area to see if they produce any blooms as well.
The question remains…will there be any GLADness?