Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share a vase of materials gathered from our gardens.
During summer days a closed-in back porch at my maternal grandmother’s was the hub of activity. The porch separated the kitchen from the main portion of the house. Just inside the back door in other seasons, we would pass by pots of out-of-bloom geraniums and begonias. But in summer those would have been set outside and in their stead would sit a carefully tended vase of gladiolas in mixed colors.
When I was five or six often I stayed overnight with my grandmother. After breakfast, still early, she would get her flower clippers and we would go outside to see if any more of her glads had opened. The mystery of what colors they would be held such excitement for me.
Grandma always wore an apron and would tuck up a corner just so, to hold whatever she was gathering. On these mornings she would come back indoors with an apron full of glads and proceed to groom the flowers already in the vase, removing the spent blooms from the bottom of the stems, making fresh cuts, adding clean water and finally arranging the newest stems into the vase. The rainbow array never failed to delight my young self and must have made her happy as well.
I still adore gladiolas but have drifted toward white ones and deep, intensely rich colors like G. ‘Espresso’. Its silky petals begin as nearly black and open into a sultry crimson.
The bright red glad came without a name but has distinctive inner markers and rich color.
Keeping company with the gladiolas, Beebalm has begun flowering after several years of nearly disappearing. The spot of blue at upper left is bachelor button.
The mophead hydrangea in today’s vase is a pass-along that came from a reader when I first began this blog. She was a volunteer at the JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh, NC and the hydrangea was one her father grew. My grandmother also had a hydrangea by her back porch step (my cousin still grows it). Hers and everyone’s flowered blue due to the acid soil conditions in our small town. I would much prefer blue to pink but haven’t in all these year taken time to add aluminum sulfate.
Centaurea cyanus ‘Blue Diadem’ (Bachelor’s Buttons)
Gladiolus no-names white and bright red
Lilium ‘Black Out’ (Asiatic lily)
Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)
Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’
Red/black raku vase, Charles Chrisco, Chrisco’s Pottery—Seagrove Potters
I hope this lily bud will create a focal point when it opens front and center in a few days.
Thanks to our host Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for encouraging us to create and share our vases. Visit her to discover what is blooming in her UK garden and across the globe this week.
Thank you Sangita!
I loved reading your memories of staying with your Grandmother and the care she put into her beloved ‘glads’. Sounds like her nurturing of these special flowers also nurtured a love of flowers in you! Such a precious memory.
And of course you chose the perfect vessel for this week’s beautiful and striking arrangement 🙂
Oh thank you. I’m sure those early memories had an impact. I’ve been thinking a lot about my grandmother this week.
It is so nice to have lovely memories of your grandmother.
Yes, I’m glad I had a chance to spend time with her. She cooked special meals for me and played endless games of checkers. ha! ha! We also watched soap operas in afternoon.
Galdiolus were probably my favorite flowers to grow from bulbs when I was a kid. Of course, white was my favorite, but also, I grew them with a matching quantity of simple red. Okay, so I am no designer. I was a kid, and thought that red went well with white. I eventually tried other colors, but eventually became dissatisfied with how they are not reliably perennial. I intend to grow more in the future. I might get copies of a few that have somehow survived at work for many years, although they are orange and purple, which are two of my lesser favorite colors.
I’ve noticed that also Tony. The orange and coral seem to last very well (although even they have eventually died out here). Easy enough to replant glads and fairly inexpensive.
Yes, although I prefer ‘reliably perennial’ perennials, gladiolus are woth their minor expense. Tangly Cottage Gardening sent me a box of perennial Gladiolus papilio, which I am VERY pleased with, and can not stop bragging about, but they are not as showy as the fancy hybrid sorts. They are a wildflower type, that somehow sort of look like they should naturally live here. I would like them to bloom enough for me to cut a bunch of them to bring in. At the rate they are going, they could do that at any time.
You couldn’t ask for a better vase to suit today’s dramatic arrangement, Susie. That red gladiola is fabulous but I love the rich burgundy one too. I’ve had mixed experiences with gladiolas but, after finding a dozen bulbs I tucked away failed to plant this year, I’m kicking myself.
Thanks Kris, I am fond of that vase. I collected 5 in total by that potter, all in red and black. Maybe it’s not too late to plant the glads. You can keep planting them every two weeks so there are some throughout summer (not that I did that this year).
What a lovely memory to have of your grandmother, Susie 😊 I bought some reduced gladioli from our local garden centre in January, and there is now very healthy foliage in the borders, but when I have tried them before I have never achieved ant flowers and I am hoping things will be different this year!! I really like how you have mixed the unopened spikes with the open blooms, and the foliage at the front really sets the whole vase off – lovely, Susie 👍
Thanks Cathy. Grandmothers are special people. Hope your gladiolas produce flowers for you. They love sunshine. When I made the arrangement on Saturday I didn’t have many open yet but they since opened in the vase (lily too), giving it an evolving character. Appreciate you hosting each week.
You are welcome, Susie 👍 You will no doubt hear in due course if there is any progress with the gladioli!
Oh I love glads Suzie and your post has reminded me that I bought some which I haven’t planted yet! Your vase is a perfect match for your flowers this week. What a precious gift you have in your grandmother’s clippers. It is a lovely feeling to hold gardening implements in your hands knowing who treasured them in the past.
The clippers are a sweet treasure indeed, Anna. Hope you get your glads planted and are rewarded with many blooms.
Stunning arrangement, Susie! I wish it wasn’t so, but glads are tied up in my memory with funeral arrangements. I’d much rather have your sweet memories of shared time with a grandmother. 🙂
I understand Eliza–have seen plenty of glads at funerals too. Carnations, even more so.
So pretty, Susie. I love the Baptistia foliage with everything and the deep colored glads. Will the buds open? I read about growing glads in my garden, recommendations include DDT! Not. I have a similar pair of shears from some long lost family member.
Thanks Amy. Yes, the buds opened and the lily filled in the front center as hoped. DDT surely is not legal anywhere? Aren’t those random artifacts from family special?
Pretty sure DDT is long gone..one of those things I can’t believe when I see..soak in DDT I love the random artifacts, not sure anyone else will!
A stunning arrangement, so rich in variety and colour… and memories! I do hope you will share a snap of the vase when the lily opens too. The foliage is absolutely perfect too. Gorgeous vase Susie, as always! 😃
Thanks Cathy! I did get a photo of the vase when the lily opened and I’ll try to share it. Of course, the lily opened up higher than I expected so I rearranged it a bit. 😀
Your grandmothers influence lives on in the joy you take from gladioli.
So true, I have a vivid image of her this week Noelle.
Such a precious memory. I like the way plants (can) connect us to other people and the past. I’m not very fond of the big gladioli although they look stunning in your vase but I find them difficult to combine. Having said that I grow Gladiolus byzantinus which is doing so well here. Fab vase too, Susie, it perfectly mirrors the colours of the flowers. Happy summer days 🙂
I agree with you the glads can be challenging. Glad you have found your Gladiolus byzantinus to be happy in your garden. I should try it again. This year I ordered Peacock Orchid (Gladiolus acidanthera) –just looked it up to verify and I find the name has chanced to Gladiolus murielae! Waiting to see if they will like their new home. Take good care, Annette.
yes, they’re lovely too, had them in my Irish garden👍