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Gladiolus: Lost Forever?

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Page 4 of Gladiolus: Lost?
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G. dalenii, PARROT GLAD, 1830

The first African glad in US gardens, this vivid orange, green, and yellow wildling was eventually crowded aside by new hybrids. But it lingered in old Southern gardens, waiting to be rediscovered by savvy 21st-century gardeners. “The most desirable,” Bridgeman wrote in 1837. “It blossoms freely, and the colors are exquisitely beautiful.” As usual, our supply this spring is VERY limited. Formerly G. psittacinus and G. natalensis, zones 3b-7b, 4 feet tall, from Louisiana. Last offered in 2015. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


SILVER DOLLAR, 1962

“It’s like a string of pearls,” says our usually matter-of-fact Maine grower of this pure white classic – “the ideal wedding glad.” 4 feet, from Maine. Last offered in 2007. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


SPIC AND SPAN, 1946

This luscious coral glad is named for the popular household cleanser that dates back to Depression days. It’s the top blue-ribbon winning glad of all time and a personal favorite of our good customer and celebrated Atlanta garden designer, Ryan Gainey. 4 feet, Holland. Last offered in spring 2016. Unfortunately ‘Spic and Span’ seems to have gone “commercially extinct,” although you may find impostors sold elsewhere. We’ll continue searching for true stock, and announce any success in our newsletter. Please keep your fingers crossed!


SUNBONNET SUE, 1967Rarest

Named for the traditional quilt pattern of little girls in over-sized bonnets, this pastel glad is a warm apricot-buff with a sprinkling of freckles in its golden throat. Customers at our local Farmers Market loved it as a cutflower, and it’s even better when you grow your own! Small-flowered, 3-4 feet, from Maine. Last offered spring of 2018. We hope to offer this variety again next spring. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


TOP BRASS, 1960

Simple can be sublime, and though we love ruffled and patterned glads, it’s hard to beat the fresh-faced, baby-smooth look of classics like ‘Top Brass’. Whether it reminds you of a sunny day at the beach, a lemon meringue pie, or the clear, thrilling notes of a trumpet fanfare, this luminous yellow glad is something special. 4 feet, from Maine. Last offered in 2008. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


TOWHEAD, 1960

Like a flaxen-haired pre-schooler, this cute little glad with flowers no bigger than ‘Atom’ is the epitome of summer’s sunny, carefree days. Its pale blond petals deepen to gold in the center, it’s famously vigorous, and we’re happy that we once again have a small supply we can share with you. Small-flowered, 3-4 feet, from Maine. Last offered in 2015. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


TRUE LOVE, 1969

A richer pink than ‘Friendship,’ this rare beauty won the “unqualified endorsement” of Carl Fischer – the greatest gladiolus breeder of the 20th century – for its “trimly tailored” spikes, “ethereal” color, and “exquisite ruffling.” In the garden it’s exceptionally vigorous and sturdy, and in bouquets it’s stunning. 4 feet, from Maine. Last offered in 2016. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


VENETIE, 1941

As romantic as its namesake (Venetie is Dutch for Venice), this rare survivor from the 1940s evokes a midnight masked ball. Look closely and you’ll see that its unusual, almost smoky orange is brushed at the lips with shadows of burgundy, and — adding to its mysterious allure — its petals sparkle as if dusted with tiny diamonds. 4 feet, from Holland. Last offered in spring 2010. Although it has gone “commercially extinct” in the Netherlands, we hope to offer it again someday. Stay tuned via our email newsletter.


VIOLET QUEEN, 1959Rarest

A rich, full-bodied purple, this vintage glad adds a deep note of counterpoint to gardens and bouquets. White strokes on the lower petals – pollen guides for bees – make it all the more elegant. 4 feet, from Maine. Last offered spring of 2018. We plan to offer this variety again next spring. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


WHITE FRIENDSHIP, 1959

“Lemon-hearted ‘White Friendship’ has never been surpassed,” says garden super-star Ann Lovejoy who recommends combining it with golden feverfew and blue morning glories. It’s one of the 20th-century’s finest glads, vigorous, lightly ruffled, and radiant. 3-4 feet, from Holland. Last offered in spring 2014, and we’re sad to say it has gone commercially extinct.


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