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Gladiolus: Lost Forever?

From America’s Expert Source for Heirloom Flower Bulbs
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Though preservation is our mission, bulbs drop out of our catalog every year.

Sometimes it’s because the harvest was too small. Sometimes it’s because they’re widely available elsewhere and don’t need our help. And sometimes it’s because we’ve lost our only known source due to severe weather (cold, drought, etc.), health problems (a debilitating stroke), or economic woes (small farmers are always at risk).

The good news is that, in time, we’re often able to return these bulbs to our catalog. So here’s a list of many we’ve offered in the past. For an alert the moment they’re available again, subscribe to our free email newsletter. Or to find a similar bulb, try our easy Advanced Bulb Search.


Fall-planted:     Crocus       Daffodils       Hyacinths       Lilies       Peonies       Tulips       Diverse

Spring-planted:     Cannas       Dahlias       Daylilies       Gladiolus       Iris       Diverse


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Gladiolus x colvillei ALBUS, 1872

This dainty, white, wildflowery gem is one of the oldest garden glads, a true Victorian survivor. Its lower petals are marked with yellow, its anthers are blue, and it has a slight evening fragrance! It’s a sport of the original, red G. x colvillei which was bred in 1823 from two African species, the fragrant G. tristris and the relatively hardy G. cardinalis. 18” very early blooming. Last offered web-only in spring 2004. We may offer it again someday, but the colvillei glads can be a challenge to grow.


ALLEGRO, 1965

Please don’t mistake ‘Allegro’ for an ordinary red glad. Its color is a wonderfully deep ruby with smoky undertones and so intense it almost seems to be throbbing. Its Italian name means “quick, spirited, lively,” and this show-stopper definitely is. 4’, 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.


APRICOT LUSTER, 1969

Soft and luminous, this enchanting, full-sized glad has won bushels of blue ribbons. It’s a delicious blend of apricot, coral, honey, buff, and gold, delicately ruffled, and we never seem to have enough. 4 feet, from Maine. Last offered in 2014. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


BEUNA WINCHESTER, 1920s?

What a find! From old country gardens in the Great Smoky Mountains comes this graceful, small-flowered, clump-forming, rosy-pink, pass-along glad. We’ve named it in honor of Beuna Winchester (say BYOON-uh), ambassador of old-time mountain culture, who’s been nurturing it ever since it grew in her mother’s garden 70 or more years ago. We hope you’ll join us in preserving it! Last offered in spring 2004. Although we lost our entire stock, we’re still hopeful that we’ll be able to offer it again someday.


BLUEBIRD, 1968

As small as ‘Atom’ and surprisingly close to blue, this cheery little glad always reminds us of a nest full of hungry baby birds. Winner of the gladiolus world’s highest honor, the All-America award, it blooms with vigor all across the country. Very limited supply, Small-flowered, 3 feet, from Maine. Last offered spring of 2018. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


BLUE SMOKE, 1957

Don’t be surprised if this smoldering beauty leaves you and your garden visitors babbling! A half-century after it was introduced, its exotic coloring is still very unusual. From a glowing heart of apricot and bronze its petals shade into a smoky, lavender-gray that’s almost beyond words — and ravishingly beautiful. Very limited supply, 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.


BOONE, 1920s?

Don’t like glads? We dare you to try wee, wildflowery ‘Boone’. Collected at an abandoned homestead in the Appalachians near Boone, NC, it has graceful, pint-sized, primulinus blooms of soft apricot, and it’s remarkably hardy – through zone 6 at least, and many of our zone-5 customers tell us it’s perennial for them, too. Like ‘Carolina Primrose’, it’s an early form of the “Maid of the Mist” glad (G. primulinus, now G. dalenii, from Victoria Falls to the US in 1908), and awesome. (See it on the cover of Fine Gardening!) 3 feet, zones 3b-6a, from Michigan. Last offered spring of 2018. We are increasing stock and we hope to offer it again someday. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


CARIBBEAN, 1957

If you look with your imagination, it’s easy to see the blue skies and sandy beaches of the Caribbean in this well-named little glad. It’s not really blue, of course, but a lovely soft lavender highlighted with thumbprints of purple. Small-flowered, 3 feet tall, from Maine. Last offered spring of 2018. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


CAROLINA PRIMROSE, 1908

This small, graceful glad stunned us by surviving 22° below zero one winter here. Reliably perennial in zones 6a-9b(11bWC) – and in much of zone 5, our customers tell us – it multiplies year after year without care, and grows true from seed. Collected at an old homesite in NC, it’s an early form of the “Maid of the Mist” glad (G. primulinus, now lumped into G. dalenii, first offered in the US by Thorburn in 1908), a kissing cousin of the equally wonderful ‘Boone’. 3 feet, from Michigan. Last offered spring of 2018. We are increasing stock and we hope to offer it again someday. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


CHARISMA, 1969

Looking like a summer party dress or a tropical fruit smoothie, this luscious, ruffled glad combines soft apricot-pink with pale lemon and gold. Pick a few, settle into your chaise longue after a productive afternoon in the garden, and enjoy! 4 feet, from Maine. Last offered spring of 2018. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


CHIPPER, 1965

If this little glad were any bigger, its brilliant splashes of deep rose on white might be too much. But it’s one of the smallest-flowered glads we grow, and we never seem to get tired of its cheery brightness. Try it yourself and see what we mean! 3 feet tall, from Maine. Last offered in 2018. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


DOMINO, 1959

Little glads like ‘Domino’ are favorites of ours. They fit easily into gardens and bouquets and they never seem “too much.” Bred by the father-and-son team of John and Charles Larus of Connecticut who introduced many of the most popular mid-century glads, ‘Domino’ has an orchid-like look to it, with creamy, “needle-pointed” petals and a vibrant center spot of rosy-purple. 3 feet, from Maine. Last offered in 2012. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


EMPIRE YELLOW, 1963

As ruffled as a party dress — from the year the Chiffons topped the charts with “He’s So Fine” — this Empire-state classic is a sunny light yellow burnished with amber. 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.


FIDELIO, 1959

A very rosy, joyful purple, ‘Fidelio’ is named for Beethoven’s only opera, a hymn to loyalty, love, and freedom. Try a few combined with silvery Russian sage or tall artemisia – stunning! 4 feet, from Holland. Our supplier has stopped growing Fidelio and we are looking for a new source. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


FIREDANCE, 1968

Looking more like a cymbidium orchid from the wilds of Borneo than an ordinary glad from your own backyard, this tiny, ruffled beauty is a luscious peachy-orange that’s splashed with gold and richly speckled with cayenne pepper. Wow! Very limited supply, small-flowered, 3 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.


FRIENDSHIP, 1949

This landmark pink has won every prize there is for glads, and 60-some years after it first bloomed for the legendary Carl Fischer it’s still considered world-class. Frosty pink with a luminous throat, it’s refreshingly cool and exceptionally healthy. 4 feet, from Holland. Last offered in spring 2016. Unfortunately ‘Friendship’ 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!


FRISKY, 1963

Grandchild of the great ‘Atom’, this dazzling little beauty is a deep, velvety scarlet glinting with undertones of gold, and each of its ruffled petals is outlined by a fine picotee edging of gold. It’s another masterpiece by Marion Rich of upstate New York who also gave the world ‘Apricot Luster’ and ‘Blue Smoke’. Small-flowered, 3½ feet tall, from Maine. Last offered in 2014. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


GOLDEN STARS, 1961

A deep, rich, sunflower yellow with a bit of ruffling and impressive vigor, this classic was once the standard of excellence for early-blooming yellow glads. 4 feet, from Maine. Last offered web-only in spring 2005. We may offer it again someday.


GREEN WOODPECKER, 1958

A Sputnik-era classic, ‘Green Woodpecker’ is a stylish 1950s chartreuse with a wine-red splash at the throat. Russel Wright would have loved it! 3-4 feet, from Maine. Last offered in spring 2004. Though bulbs by this name are still offered elsewhere, they’re all impostors and lack the maroon blotch that’s a defining feature of the true ‘Green Woodpecker’. Can you help us find another source for this treasure?


GREY WING, 1934

One of the oldest and most unusual glads we’ve ever offered, this exotic beauty really is gray — a silvery, smoky, pewtery, pearly, luminous gray that’s both unique and gorgeous. Saved by the Old-Timers Guild of the North American Gladiolus Council. 3-4 feet, from Washington. Last offered in spring 2004. We’re sad to say we lost our entire stock, and unfortunately we haven't found anyone else who grows it.


ISLE OF CAPRI, 1961

Big, beautiful, and blazing, this lightly ruffled glad from the early 1960s is a radiant orange splashed with scarlet and white in the throat. Ohio-bred, it’s named for the sun-drenched island that fun-seekers have been flocking to since Roman times. Limited supply, 4 feet tall, from Maine. Last offered in 2014. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


KAKAGA, 1962

Yoda’s favorite glad? With its flaring side petals, this exotic little glad may at least remind you of that big-eared Jedi master. A bit larger than ‘Atom’, it’s a brilliant paprika-orange splashed with gold and absolutely dazzling. As for its name, if you know what it means, we’d love to hear from you. Small-flowered, 3-4 feet, from Maine. Last offered spring of 2018. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


KING SOLOMON, 1966

Velvety and sumptuous, this jewel-toned glad is deep wine-red shaded with purple and highlighted by midrib lines and a picotee edging of silver. It was bred by gladiolus farmer Russell Bevington of Indiana who the local newspaper once described as a “hippy with a glad business.” 4 feet tall, 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.


LA CORUNA, 1957

With velvety petals of an incredibly dark, intense ruby shaded with burgundy and smoke, this 50-something glad is still turning heads. Order early — we never have enough! 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.


LAVANESQUE, 1960

‘Lavanesque’ takes its name from a popular perfume introduced in the 1950s that ads claimed “speaks for the secret and reckless heart.” But even if you don’t have a reckless heart, we bet you’ll like this romantic glad from the Mad-Men era with its lightly ruffled, not-too-big blossoms of rosy-lavender and cream. 4 feet, from Maine. Last offered in 2011. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


LILAC & CHARTREUSE, 1960

From the decade that brought us paisley shirts, black-light posters, and Sergeant Pepper comes this weirdly wonderful glad of ruffled, lavender florets splashed with pale chartreuse. And you don’t have to be a hippie to enjoy it! 3-4 feet, from Maine. Last offered in 2019. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


LITTLE MO, 1966

From the psychedelic ’60s, this small-flowered cutie is vivid coral-orange with a scarlet blaze at the throat for added zing. With as many as 22 buds per stem, it was a top show-winner for decades, but we think it’s a lot happier out in the garden where it mingles easily with perennials. 3 feet, from Maine. Last offered web-only in spring 2007. We may offer it again periodically.


MARY HOUSLEY, 1951

Rosy embers glow in the hearth of this cream-colored gladiolus, recalling the painted-lady patterns of Victorian glads. Antique-plant maven Roy Genders called it “most pretty” and we agree! 4 feet, from Holland. Last offered in spring 2008. We may offer it again someday.


MELODIE, 1955

As featured in both Garden Gate and The Old-House Journal! Small-flowered and richly patterned, this little gem is very much like the rococo glads of the late 1800s. Rosy-peach with a blaze of scarlet and gold — one stem in a bud vase is all you’ll need. 3 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.


MEXICANA, 1967

Wildly ruffled – like skirts swirling at a fiesta – this complex and exuberant glad is soft spring green blended with cream and buff and highlighted at the throat with a dramatic lacework of red. We like to combine it in bouquets with ‘Spic and Span’ and ‘Fidelio’, or try it with warm-colored dahlias such as ‘Golden Heart’, ‘David Howard’, and ‘Bishop of Llandaff’. ¡Olé! 4 feet, from a sunny clearing deep in the woods of 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.


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.


SNOW PRINCESS, 1939

Now that ‘White Friendship’ and ‘White Goddess’ have gone commercially extinct, we’re happier than ever to have this snowy-white Depression-era beauty with its intriguing pink anthers. One of the oldest traditional glads we’ve ever offered, it was a florists’ favorite for decades and long praised as “sturdy,” “stately,” and “exquisite.” 4½ feet tall, from Maine. Last offered in 2019. 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!


SPRING MAID, 1961

As dewy fresh as spring itself, and very early blooming, this small-to-medium flowered, lightly ruffled glad is a soft, almost silvery yellow. Combine it with pink roses, blue salvia, and a hosta leaf or two for a cool, refreshing summer bouquet. 3-4 feet, from Maine. Last offered in 2019. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


SUNBONNET SUE, 1967

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. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


SUNSET SKY, 1965

One of the smallest-flowered glads we grow, this ruffled beauty is a soft lemon yellow, deeper in the center and paling to almost white towards the edges which are richly suffused with glowing orange. Early blooming, strong growing, small-flowered, 3 feet tall, from Maine. Last offered in 2019. 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, 1959

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. 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.


WHITE GODDESS, 1948

This luminous beauty is one of very few glads from the 1940s still grown in Dutch bulb fields today, a reflection of its outstanding quality. Its ruffled florets recall that famous movie scene where Marilyn Monroe’s white skirt suddenly billows up all around her — a timeless classic. 4 feet, from Holland. Last offered in spring 2014. Unfortunately it has now gone commercially extinct.


WIG’S SENSATION, 1965

To tell the truth, we didn’t think we’d like this big red glad with the clunky name. But a farmer friend gave us a big bouquet of it and (a) it was so beautiful we found ourselves staring at it whenever we walked by and (b) it lasted and lasted in the vase, longer than any other glad we've ever grown. So here it is – enjoy! 4 feet, from Holland. Our supplier has stopped growing Wig's Sensation and we are looking for a new source. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


WITCH DOCTOR, 1964

‘Witch Doctor’ is well named. It’s an intense, eerie blend of firelight and smoke — and blood? — with mottling so dark that it almost looks charred. It’s not for the faint of heart, but if you dare to try it, we bet you’ll never forget it. Small-flowered, 3-4 feet, from Maine. Last offered in 2014. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


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