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Gladiolas. (AntiMartina/Thinkstock)
Gladiolas. (AntiMartina/Thinkstock)

Garden glory: Unearthing a love-hate relationship with gladiolus Add to ...

I have to be in the mood for the celebrity of a flower like gladiolus. They are showy. They are tall. They are colourful. You cannot ignore them as you might impatiens. There is nothing demure about them. If they could, they would twerk like Miley and wag their tongues.

They are strutters in a garden. Sure, they may be lined up at the back to create a border, but they know they will be noticed. They need the sun, and they prefer well-drained, light soil, nothing too dense and soggy. Before the winter, their corms (a fancy word for their bulb-like structure) must be dug up and preserved. They’re fragile, you see, when they’re not on show. They have their specific requirements, like Perrier without ice, served in a tumbler, and don’t forget, chilled just above room temperature, please.

I know they’re a triumphant end to summer, a swashbuckling parade of end-of-season glory, but I hate them as much as I love them to be frank. I have had them in my house on several occasions, arrayed in a vase, and they just stand there, owning the room. It’s okay for a party or something, but otherwise, having them around is like living with someone who is blinged out in Dolce & Gabbana from morning until night.

But never mind. There’s this to provide some schadenfreude: In the garden of life, once all their flowers have wilted, you have to cut off their stalk to the ground. They’re nothing if they’re not in their glory.

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