December 13, 2014
Gladiolus, referred to as simply “Glads” by devotees of this particular flower, is a perennial flowering plant known for its beautiful, showy flowers. Widely accepted as an easy-to-grow flower, its large blossoms grow on tall spikes, with some species growing up to six feet tall. Glads come in a wide range of forms, colors and heights. This flower typically blooms in midsummer, around July and August, although the plant has been cultivated to bloom both earlier and later in their usual growing season. The blooms of this plant range from white, pink, apricot, yellow, gold and orange to blue, burgundy and red. Gladiolus, which is derived from the Latin word gladius, interpreted as a sword, is the largest genus in the Iridaceae family with two hundred and fifty-five species. It is so named for the shape of the plant’s leaves. The majority of the species are native to sub-Saharan Africa, most originating from South Africa. If not originating from Africa, the other species are native to Eurasia.
This flower is considered a somewhat hardy plant in temperate climates. Depending on your location, the Gladiolus bulbs may need to be dug up in the fall for storage indoors until the following spring, or replaced annually for convenience purposes. Gladioli like the full sun, however, they should bloom if grown in the shade. Those grown in full sun will produce a larger and brighter bloom and the plants’ stalks will be sturdier. The plant does like a sandy, well-drained soil. One thing to watch out for is to keep to plant away from strong winds, as this flower does seem to be susceptible to falling over due to the weight of their top-heavy blooms. One way to help prevent the flower from tipping over is to plant the bulbs thick enough so that the foliage will support each other.
Although these photographs look as if shot in my “studio,” they were actually taken outdoors at a neighbor’s apartment, shot in the afternoon sun, using a black t-shirt as the background. A tip of my hat to my neighbor for coming up with this idea. He thought of this concept after watching me cut off the blooms of so many flowers this past summer as to take them inside to photograph. I still like shooting flowers indoors much better, even though I have to cut the flowers off to do so. That is, unless I go shopping for a new potted plant. With a potted plant, I can photograph it both indoors and outdoors, shooting twice as many pictures. Indoors, not only do I have complete control (and I have probably been called a control freak more than once during my lifetime) over both lighting and height, but I eliminate all wind. Except for that coming out my JBL stereo speakers, which serve as my backdrop. As they say, made loud to be played loud!
If I am fortunate to have you view my photographs and you find the color saturation too great or the color schemes of the mats do not match either themselves or the photograph, please let me know via a comment. Being color-blind, what might look great to me might look like sh*t to everyone else!
Steven H. Spring