This year I planted about 200 corms, both non-primulinus and primulinus. Approximately two of the 16′ raised beds were full of them and then I planted some prims in the bed down the side of the fence.

The first gladioli were planted on the 29th May, then I planted some more on the 8th June. I think that next year I am going to begin planting earlier – probably late April/early May depending on the weather so that I might have some to show at Southport Flower Show.

I use a long handled bulb planter to make the holes and space the gladioli from 12″ for the large flowered ones to about 6″-9″ for the smaller (200s). I stagger the planting so that the plant has the maximum light and space within the bed itself.

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Once I have made a hole for the corm (about 3″- 4″ deep) I place a handful of grit inside it for the corm to sit on. Then I place the corm on the grit and cover it with another handful then fill the hole up with soil. The grit means that the corm shouldn’t be sat in water and it also means that it is cleaner when lifting at the end of the season.

I was pleased with how the gladioli grow in the raised beds this year. Most of them came up successfully, although the American varieties such as ‘Dion’ and ‘Felicity’ didn’t flower until very late due to being planted too late.

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I did give them a liquid feed at about the 3rd leaf stage which all the books/information seems to recommend.Reading up recently it looks like the most important part is the ground preparation before planting. I added fish, blood and bone plus calcified seaweed about 3/4 weeks before.

Once the gladioli begins to put up a flower spike it is important to get it caned else it will begin to bend and develop a kink which is impossible to get out! One variety this year which was a real problem for not being straight was ‘Socrates’ – it is a lovely flower when grown well but it almost bends straight away after it has emerged from the leaf sheath. I plan to grow it again next year but will need to be on top of it to get it tied to a cane.

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The variety in the picture is one which always seems to grow well – ‘Careless’. It is a dutch bred 400. Interesting all the 20 corms were planned on the same day but they flowered over a period of about 2 and a half weeks, the first flower being the 19th August, 82 days after planning.

Here are just a few pictures of the gladioli cut for show and some of the shows. Can’t wait for next year!

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