Looking good: A 140 year-old bride

It is not often that I am put off growing plants because of cultural instructions in catalogues, especially if they are inexpensive. But for some reason, although I have grown many odd gladiolus species in the greenhouse, I have never grown Gladiolus x colvillei ‘The Bride’. I think this was because we are always warned that, although it should be planted in autumn, it is not completely hardy and the foliage, which appears early in spring, is vulnerable to frost damage. It all seemed a bit like hard work and a risk. Other recommendations, such as lifting the corms in winter, don’t work with this one.

But I am not alone. I don’t think I have ever seen this in gardens. I have grown (and battled to control) G. byzantinus before and it is an easy, pretty, magenta-flowered beauty. But ‘The Bride’ is a hybrid not a wild species. It is a selection from the cross of the pale yellow, night-fragrant Gladiolus tristis (which I have grown before) and the red G. cardinalis. The hybrid was first created by James Colville of Chelsea, London. I am not sure but maybe this is the same Colville that shares the name with the remarkably large-flowered Buddleia colvillei from the Himalaya. Anyway, James created G. x colvillei, a pink-flowered plant with white stripes on the lower three petals. It was first made available in 1823 and three years later a white form had been produced. In 1871,  a better, pure white form was introduced as ‘The Bride’.

So for 140 years this plant has been valiantly flowering each June and I have been ignoring it.

gladiolus the bride june 14

Because I made the ‘cutting garden’ this spring, but had it planned last autumn, I planted the corms last October. I was getting a bit fed up with bulb planting by the time I got to the gladioli and it was so difficult to know which side of the disc-like corms was ‘up’ so I ended up just ‘sowing’ them in a trench about 10cm deep rather like sowing broad beans. They didn’t punish me for my lack of attention. Others were planted in the ‘blue border’ – the idea being that I would plant some borage on top and the two would look well together.

gladiolus the bride june 141

Well the borage is a bit boisterous and the idea was not a great success – though it is OK. I think I need a more delicate blue annual next year although as I will have a million borage seedlings soon the choice may not be mine!

‘The Bride’ is a charmer. She has delicate, narrow foliage and every corm must have produced a flower stem. The blooms are elegant and pretty and perfect for cutting with their 75cm tall stems. They have provided a sophisticated addition to bouquets from the garden and they look nice with the sweet peas too.

The past winter was mild and not a testing one for any plants but I would definitely recommend this for a sunny, sheltered area for garden display and for cutting. I am definitely going to add more to the garden next year. It will be nice to add to the bearded iris beds and among the purple alliums. I want to combine it with Allium cristophii somewhere – in a big drift. I am sure I will find a spot somewhere!

 UPDATE

I took these photos just a few days later. They are of the plants in the garden, not arranged for a photo like most bulb packs. This is how they look naturally – how good is that! I an definitely planting more G. x colvilleii this autumn.

gladiolus thebride june 2414

gladiolus thebride june 24145

gladiolus thebride june 24142

 

 

, , , ,

2 Comments on “Looking good: A 140 year-old bride”

  1. joy
    June 26, 2014 at 7:40 am #

    stunning a bride would love them in her bouquet

  2. thelonggardenpath
    July 4, 2014 at 10:40 pm #

    It’s like buses! You hear about a beauty of a plant for the first time, then it turns up everywhere!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Ravenscourt Gardens

Learning life's lessons in the garden!

One Good Life in Los Angeles

Roslyn's observations about places and events around Southern California

IGPS Blog

The Irish Garden Plant Society - Lovers of Irish plants and gardens

AltroVerde

un altro blog sul giardinaggio...

vegetablurb

four decades of organic vegetable gardening and barely a clue

The Long Garden Path

A walk round the Estate!

Flowery Prose

Sheryl Normandeau's growing words....

ontheedgegardening

Gardening on the edge of a cliff

Uprooted Magnolia

I am a freelance Photographer born and raised in the Southeast. I have uprooted my life in Macon Georgia for a new life as an unlikely cowgirl in love with a handsome cowboy in Wyoming. I hope you enjoy my photo journal on life, love, and the spirit of Wyoming.

Interesting Literature

A Library of Literary Interestingness

Garden Variety

A Gardening, Outdoor Lifestyle and Organic Food & Drink Blog

For the Love of Iris

Articles, Tips and Notes from Schreiner's Iris Gardens

One Bean Row

Words and pictures from an Irish garden by Jane Powers

Plant Heritage

The world's leading garden plant conservation charity

HERITAGE IRISES

An English experience of gardening in Ireland - and back in the UK

%d bloggers like this: