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area until the flower buds show, then move them into a warm area with good sunlight but not in baking heat. Freesias, naive to South Africa, are

grown mainly for cutting because of the long vase life and lovely scent. They grow about 30 cm (12 in) tall with strappy, green foliage.

Gladiolus No article on summer bulbs would be

complete without a mention of the ever glamorous gladiola. Not only are the blossoms very long lasting, they come in a wild variety of colours, including green. Blossoms may have contrasting, pico- tee edges; coloured or white splotches on petals and subtle shadings that can encompass several hues. Petals can be frilly or plain or even pleated, star shaped or doubled. Also known as the sword lily, variet-

ies can grow from two to five feet tall. This means you should plant the corms deeply – up to 20 cm (8 in) – in late May to early June and every couple of weeks until July if you want continual blossoms. Plant them in very light, even sandy, soil. Fertilize with 5-10-10 or bone meal mixed in well with the bottom layer of soil. They take 70 to 100 days to grow and flower. They bloom from the bottom up and

flowers last for weeks. Just pick off any spent blooms from the bottom of the stalk as they fade. Gladiolus occurs naturally in Asia, the Mediterranean, and South Africa.

Acidanthera (Gladiolus callianthus muri- elae) Sometimes known as the peacock

orchid, this fabulous flower strikes a dominating pose in the garden – and it’s another fragrance producer. The star-shaped white flowers are centred by a dark burgundy throat that echoes the shape of the petals, and this is set off by projecting anthers of a bright yellow. Acidanthera is member of the gladiolus

family but you’d never know it; the flow- ers appear on two-foot, nodding stems surrounded by strap like leaves, while glads are upright, somewhat stiff soldiers in the garden. Plant acidanthera in clusters of 10 to

25 bulbs near a seating are in the garden where their lovely, primrose-like scent can seduce you in August – they are fragrant even during the daytime – and be sure they get lots of sunlight. You can also plant this bulb in pots: 10

bulbs to a 12-inch pot or 25 to an 18-inch pot is a good rule of thumb. q

26 • Spring 2015 Acidanthera (Gladiolus callianthus murielae) have a primrose-like scent. Glamorous glads are also known as the sword lily.

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