Heirloom Bulbs & Garden History  •  Living Treasure from the Past


February 2019

Feb
20
2019

Posh UK Magazine Heralds
“Modern Era” of “Truly Sophisticated” Glads

When the upscale British magazine Gardens Illustrated devotes eight pages to gladiolus, you know they’re no longer just supermarket flowers.

Indeed, a “modern era of gladioli has arrived” writes Tom Brown, head gardener at Parham House and Gardens where he conducted a major trial of glads in 2017.

Although for some gardeners, he admits, glads will be “forever associated with outrageous taste,” today “subtler and more compact cultivars are beginning to push their way above the crowd.” Many of these are “truly sophisticated, associating beautifully with other late-summer performers” in the garden or bouquets.

Abyssinian glad

Although most of the glads Brown mentions are too new for our catalog, one subtle older beauty he praises is the Abyssinian glad, G. callianthus ‘Murielae’. With “nodding, fragrant flowers that are an absolute delight,” this Award of Garden Merit winner “offers great versatility, and is equally superb in containers, borders or in a vase.”

‘Priscilla’

“Of course, if you’re looking for loud and proud,” he continues, “there are also more traditional-looking, ruffled gladioli cultivars such as ‘Priscilla’.... The challenge when using these in a cut-flower arrangement is finding companions that will stand up to them. In this case look no further than dahlias, zinnias, and sunflowers to complement” these lively glads.

Glads are also great for “the late-August gap,” Brown says, “that period when late-season perennials are still gathering momentum but summer favorites are starting to struggle. Step up gladioli, igniting fireworks in the front, middle, and rear of our borders and blowing the lid off our creativity.”

“So my advice,” he concludes, “is banish all thoughts of brash and gaudy. Instead, experiment and indulge your garden and your vases with bold and beautiful spikes. In short, allow yourself to be seduced afresh by the vintage glamour and the contemporary charms of gladioli” – which you can order now for April delivery!

Feb
13
2019

Watch New Ryan Gainey Film
in Atlanta Feb. 27 – or the Trailer Now

Fans of Ryan Gainey, the revered Southern garden designer and heirloom-plants lover, have been giving two thumbs up to The Well-Placed Weed: The Bountiful Life of Ryan Gainey.

The 2018 documentary interweaves shots of Gainey’s romantic, heirloom-filled garden with excerpts gleaned from a series of interviews that ended just a month before Gainey died in a house fire in 2016.

As Atlanta’s Cherokee Garden Library noted recently, this film is the first to “examine the complexities” of Gainey’s life. “He was a contradictory character, both off-putting and tender, self-absorbed and generous, artificial and authentic.” His home garden which was his masterpiece was, “as he often said, a ‘garden of remembrance’ where his old friends and family lived on in the overlapping blooms of heirloom plants.”

You can watch a 90-second trailer of the film, or a four-minute excerpt (accompanied by an excellent article), or buy the DVD, or – best of all – you can watch it at a special screening followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at the Atlanta History Center.

Feb
8
2019

Love in Bloom: What Do Your
Valentine’s Day Flowers Say about You?

“best of all” ‘Rococo’, 1942

“Does the kind of flower you send say anything about you as a lover? I think it does.”

So says Anna Pavord, superstar garden writer and bulb-lover, in The Curious Gardener. Here’s her modern take on the language of flowers, including her favorite Valentine’s Day flower – tulips!

Roses – “From a lover who feels safest as one of the herd and for whom imagination will never be a strong point.”

Carnations – “Acceptable only if they overpower you with their smell. If they don’t, then your lover too must be under suspicion of being unable to deliver what the outside appearance promises.”

Daffodils – “I’d trust a man who gave me daffodils. . . . Daffodils fit the bill seasonally, and in love as in life, you like to feel you are getting the right things at the right time. . . . There’s hope in daffodils. That’s a dangerously fragile commodity at the best of times, but now is the season to indulge it.”

Lilies – “Fine if you can live up to the theatrical aura they throw around them. Lilies will come from people who care very much about their appearance. . . . Let the stamens be the deciding factor. If your Valentine insists on cutting them off, on the grounds that the pollen will stain the Armani suit, then get free of the relationship as soon as you can. Just think how such a suitor would hog the bathroom. Impossible.”

Tulips – “As far as I’m concerned, these are the best, indeed the only flowers to send or receive on Valentine’s Day. Wild, irrepressible, wayward, unpredictable, strange, subtle, generous, elegant, tulips are everything you would wish for in a lover. Best of all are the crazy parrot tulips such as ‘Rococo’ [pictured here] with red and pink petals feathered and flamed in crinkly lime-green. ‘When a young man presents a tulip to his mistress,’ wrote Sir John Chardin (Travels in Persia, 1686), ‘he gives her to understand by the general red color of the flower that he is on fire with her beauty, and by the black base that his heart is burned to coal.’ That’s the way to do it.”

If you’re a daffodil, lily, or tulip kind of lover, we’re here for you! Order any of our luscious, romantic, fall-planted treasures now for delivery at planting time in October.