Flower Arranging with Gladioli

Flower Arranging with Gladioli

The way you arrange gladioli is important if you are to get the greatest value from them. The lower florets fade before the top buds are open, so unless the stems are carefully arranged the lower portions soon look shabby. If they are set one stem before the other, one young bloom or bud covering the lowest florets of the one behind it (though not actually resting on them) the beauty of the spikes is captured for a little longer. You can pull off the faded pips and the young bloom will fill the space for a while.

Obviously the stems in the foreground will have to be cut much shorter than the stem at the back of the arrangement. Spikes of fully-opened flowers can be cut short and used in a low arrangement, a table decoration for example. They can also be used to bring instant colour to an arrangement of newly-cut stems, the latter being arranged as suggested above, while the shortened spikes of fully opened flowers can be arranged at the base of the stems. They can be removed after a few days and replaced with leaves.

Five gladioli spikes alone will make a good decoration if you take full advantage of the leaves. These will probably have to be stripped from the stems; the grower is certain to have ‘tipped’ some of them, cutting off the little extremity of natural fading which often appears on older leaves. These cut leaves are not pretty enough to stand outlined between the spikes, but they can be bowed into one or more loops to make abstract leaf shapes. They can then be arranged at the foot of stems impaled on a pin-holder. Hold the two ends of the loop tightly between fingers and thumb and push them down between the points of the holder. Arrange them around the stems just as though they were large leaves, taking care that you bow and not bend them. Between these, contrasting them prettily, you can arrange small sword-like leaves stripped from the upper parts of the stem or perhaps tips cut from some long stem before you bow the other portion of it.

If you have no alternative but to use ready tipped leaves, re-trim them, cutting the tips on a longer slant. When you use these or uncut leaves turn them so that the slant on each leaf follows the same line, preferably inwards.

Do not be in a hurry to throw away the leaves if you are planning to make dried flower arrangements. They will sometimes take the glycerine and water solution well and will change to a pleasant silky tan. The leaves can also be pressed under the carpet between newspapers and will turn colour with this method too.

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