Zone 5 Winter Hardiness
I hate digging up my glads every year so I've been selecting for winter hardiness so they can be left in ground over winter. My current populations have survived two record cold winters with lows reaching -23 F/ -30 C.
I hate staking. It is the one garden chore I just won't do. So I've been selecting for gladiolus with shorter, stronger stems that don't flop over into the mud. We get frequent thunderstorms with strong wind and heavy rain during gladiolus bloom season here in Michigan and anything that isn't standing tall after a storm I eliminate from my breeding population.
Rather than the typical very long, single stem of flowers from each bulb, I select for flowering stems that branch. The result is that as the first branch is finishing bloom, the lower branches are beginning to flower giving a significantly longer display in the garden. The individual flower stems are not as long as the truly massive show gladiolus stems, but the shorter stems are less likely to need staking, work better in smaller vases, and make a much better garden display.
The genus gladiolus is huge and contains more diversity in flower color, form, pattern and fragrance than any other group of plants I know, yet standard hybrid gladiolus tap into only a tiny fraction of that diversity. I am working aggressively to integrate as many new, unusual species into my populations to radically expand the diversity available in these flowers. This is a slow process, but in the coming year I should have some radically different looking gladiolus to share.
Can I Buy Some?
Not yet. My plan is to transform this site into an on-line mail order nursery in the next few years and start selling these and my other breeding creations, but it takes time to build up enough numbers to make that work. If you want to make sure you get notified when they are available, sign up for my mailing list.