So Glad…

 At the SupemarketFilling the farm stands and grocery stores now are the much maligned Gladioli. These are one of those flowers that only appear In the late summer season. Most are only grown for cutting. I can’t remember seeing glads in anyone’s garden.

Gladioulus x hortulanusThe come in a huge array of colors and bi-color combinations and are arresting for their strong linear shape. In fact their name, Gladioli, come from the Latin gladius, which means sword, and at one time, they used to be called sword flower.

Gladioulus cardinalisThis wonderful illustration from Curtis Botanical Magazine from 1790 shows a very beautiful cultivar called “Cardinalis” and looks like a less floriferous version of today’s flower stalk.

Lush Basket of mixed GladiolasFor years flower arrangers and florists alike have used these dramatic flowers in baskets and in fan shaped displays. They still turn up on the internet as floral designs for funerals. Those who have heard Mrs. Newport’s rap song “No Glads, No Glads” are sure never to use them in a flower show!

Gladiolas in an ikebana basketOne day for fun, I bought two mixed bouquets from a New York state farm stand. Taking just a few colors, I made a somewhat tradition arrangement in an ikebana container. I say “somewhat” because the container is a little tall in proportion for a traditional design.

 Pink gladiolasAmong the prettiest of the stems were these few pink gladiolus which are placed simply in a kenzan in another ikebana vase, this time stoneware with a small opening.

 Gladiolas in a horizontal designSeparating them by color once again, I used their sword-like forms to create a horizontal line and then, completely over turning the rules of any unity, added a very different green center of fascinating textures. Can’t you hear the comment now? “The design is divided”!!! Yup but fun for home use.

Gladiolas in an Underwater DesignThe last color group to shine were the yellows. One stem is placed underwater in the vase with a few of the dark purple mini carnations around its stem. Two more sunny glads were put on top and the whole oasis (resting on the opening of the glass vase) was covered with more of the purple carnations. Complementary colors in the most everyday of materials. “No glads, no glads!” … you had to be there!

Cheers!

About Susan

Susan Detjens is a former landscape painter, she lectures, demonstrates and runs workshops on floral design for museums, horticultural organizations and garden clubs across the US.
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4 Responses to So Glad…

  1. Ginnie Tietjens says:

    My very first competitive Floral design was an entry at the Philadelphia Flower Show back in the mid 70’s and had two red glads illuminated by a red light in a medium niche. The red light on the red petals made them appear velvety and helped to interpret a photo dark room. Now that’s a step back in time! That blue just propelled me on to try again the next year and the rest is history.

    I too bought two bunches of glass last week…shocking pink and cantaloupe. Guess that was my farewell to summer because it is goldenrod and Mini pumpkins this week. Love your blogs, Susan. Ginnie

    • Susan says:

      Hi Ginnie – Thanks – I think everyone has been down this gladiolus road, don’t you?? I searched and searched for some of the old 1940’s bouquets in hotels of fan shaped arrangements of glads. Your design, as usual, sounds fantastic!! The Pinkster reported she had been buying glads this week too. Great Minds!! Cheers Susan

  2. Martha McClellan says:

    I LOVE glads. I love all the bright colors!
    Anyone who has ever done Church flower guilds understands the bad rap, but the colors are fabulous! If you break off the long “funereal” tips, you can include them in as some exotic special flower.

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