Charles Day is Wave Hill’s Ruth Rea Howell Senior Horticultural Interpreter.
Some of the blooms in the garden at this time of year are courtesy of the summer-flowering bulbs which our gardeners planted in spring. One of these is the Abyssinian gladiolus (Gladiolus murielae, formerly known as Acidanthera bicolor), a tall gladiolus with scented, perfectly white flowers with a dark-maroon center.
As the common name suggests, it is native to eastern Africa but, despite being tropical in origin, it is perfectly happy to grow here during the summer months. The bulbs (or, more correctly, corms) must be dug each fall and kept in a cool, dark place until they can be planted again the following spring.
When planted in a mass, as they are in the middle of the Flower Garden this year, their white blooms, almost bird-like in shape, brighten up a planting just as the flowers of midsummer are fading.