Driving to a clients place a few years back, I was all but blinded by this outrageous garden en route, bursting at the seams with Gladiolus dalenii. I had to stop and take some pics.
(Apologies for the pic – my camera went into melt-down trying to process that colour, creating the distortion equivalent of turning speakers up too loud. Having said that, my eyes had the same response).
Now I think of it, I remember a garden somewhere in the far eastern suburbs of Melbourne with a similar display. I was heading back from the old Din San nursery as a young apprentice with the head gardener at Ripponlea, when we were similarly – and literally – stopped in our tracks. There was absolutely nothing else in the garden, other than solid borders of this gladiolus. We had a chat to the owner of the house who promised us bulbs when they were dormant, but this was never followed up. We should have just taken some at the time. Strange – I’ve never put those two incidents together until just now.
The first few times I went back to visit the client of the earlier story, I’d cruise around this gently curving road, waiting for the visual slam. The experience was never repeated. At first I assumed that it was just a matter of not returning at the same time of year. Then I started to wonder if I was driving the opposite way around this circular road to my destination and tried to identify the garden from the vague memory I had of these pics. Eventually my client told me that the owners had removed every last bulb.
OK, they must have been an absolute pain to garden around, and no doubt their tall annual growth would have made compost of any other young plants in their midst, but once I did manage to identify the garden, it was clear that nothing else worthwhile had taken their place. Why didn’t they just leave them? They were, in a word, hilarious – and how many gardens achieve that?
Clearly you can have way too much of a good thing..
(for those interested, it appears that G. dalenii = G. psittacina = G. natalensis. My irrelevant favour falls to G. psittacina, as it’s latin for parrot, which refers to the parrot-beak shape of the hooded upper petal. But G. dalenii it is)
Hey, since writing this, I’ve become aware of Ambra Sancin’s post on gladdies at http://ambradambra.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/i-gladiolus/. It’s got me thinking about what to stuff ’em with.