Gladiolus papilio “Ruby”
My husband and I first saw this glorious gladiolus on a visit to Hadspen Garden in Somerset in 2003.
It was discovered in the nursery as a sport of Gladiolus papilio by Nori and Sandra Pope, the tenants and creators of the remarkable garden at Hadspen House from 1987 to 2005.
My husband loved it; I said that there was no place for it; he won and it joined the flower beds and has caused comment ever since…
Its flower stems grows to between 3’/90cm and 5’/ 1.5cm making a long sinuous vertical.
The flowers emerge from the cobra-headed buds and are beloved by bees. (the last bee-sting I received was from a cross bumblebee that I rudely squeezed as I carelessly removed the spent flower she was still feeding from…)
The color is a hard-to-describe red, a sort of red plush, what I would call “bordello red”, but with dusky, almost black, undertones.
It starts blooming for us here from late June to late July, depending on the heat.
It needs full sun and free-draining soil.