Gladioli are among the easiest flowers to grow and are one of the main attractions in the summer garden providing an exotic, show-stopping display over many months.
If you haven't grown 'gladdies' before now is the perfect time to do so because the beauty of the many improved modern hybrids will absolutely amaze you.
The colour range of their flowers, which vary in form and size, is vast and brilliant and comes in shades of pink, red, white, yellow, purple, mauve, green and apricot, with bi- and multi-colours.
Some stems can produce up to 30 flowers and two varieties have alluring scents.
The evening-scented Gladiolus tristis exudes a perfume similar to carnations and cloves and G. callianthus has a gorgeous vanilla fragrance.
The gladiolus is one of the August birth flowers and in the language of flowers signifies remembrance.
With origins in South Africa, Asia and the Mediterranean regions gladioli were introduced into England around the late 1500s.
Planting times vary with the climate, soil type and corm variety but can start as early as July.
The best blooms are usually those that were planted early.
Gladioli take about 80 to 110 days from planting to flowering.
Smaller corns usually take five to seven days longer than larger corms of the same variety.
Gladioli thrive in a position that offers full sun in well-drained soil enriched with compost.
The taller hybrids need protection from strong winds otherwise the stem will bend or the plant may fall over especially when in full bloom.
The depth of planting depends on the type of soil and the size of the corm.
Corms are planted deeper in lighter sandy soils than in heavier clay soils, and a large corms is planted deeper than a small one.
The deeper the corm is planted the less likely the plant will be blown over by the wind.
Gladioli are usually planted 10-15cms deep and 8-15cms apart with the basal scar or root base facing downwards.
Water in after planting. Make successive plantings over several weeks to ensure a continuous display.
To show these majestic plants at their best plant as groups or in clumps. Smaller varieties can be placed in rockeries or containers.
The best corms are plump with a smooth, waxy skin. The large flat corms are usually old and worn out making them unsuitable for planting.
Discard all disfigured corms.
Cut stems for the vase when the first sign of colour appears in the bottom floret as buds open from the bottom first with the top buds opening last.
Leave about one third of the stem to provide food for next season's plant.
The corm is neither a root nor a bulb but a compressed stem with roots on the lower end and a cluster of buds on the upper section.
Each year the old corm is worn out producing the current plant and a new one forms on top of this tired one. It's this new corm that is saved for replanting.
August 14: Longford Garden Club AGM, Anglican Parish Hall, William Street, Longford, 7.30pm. Visitors welcome.
August 15: Launceston Orchid Society, Newnham Uniting Church Hall, 7pm.
August 20: Australian Native Plant Society, Max Fry Hall, Gorge Road,Trevallyn, 7.30pm. Dr Miguel de Salas from the Tasmanian Herbarium to speak on highlights from his many years of plant hunting and collecting in Tasmania. Visitors welcome.
August 21: Launceston Horticultural Society, Windmill Hill Hall, High Street, Launceston, 8pm. Bob Reid, world renowned plant collector and breeder is guest speaker.