If you go down to the New Forest today…

Gladiolus illyricus, Pyrenees, May 2015

Gladiolus illyricus, Pyrenees, May 2015

then you just might see this lovely plant.  Coming to you from the Mediterranean and the Pyrenees, apparently the New Forest is the only area in the UK where you might see this.  Gladiolus illyricus, or it’s common name, the Illyrian Gladiolus (which sounds rather as if it has sprung from the pages of ‘The Winter’s Tale’) is a late Spring (with us) flowerer, favouring semi-shaded meadow banksides and roadside verges here.

Apparently, it’s very fond of bracken and so that’s a good place to have a look for it.  It stands about 0.5m high on very slender stems, and is not a clumper as we have only seen sporadic solitary plants.  Andy was in ‘Tour de France’ mode with full lycra and all that, when he flung himself off his bike to take this photograph on his phone.  No mean feat, as he was probably doing 40kph at the time, and he was locked to his bike with shoe clips.

Then today, out walking near Clarac in 65, we came across more of them, maybe 4 or 5 plants only though in a small area of verge.  The colour is in-your-face-lipstick-pink but with a flame striation inside the flower throat which is really lovely,  You can see this in his photograph above.  It is possible to grow this from seed at Rareplants, so I might give it a try, though their advice, rich compost, differs from the actual conditions I have seen it growing in- certainly moist, but not so sure about the rich compost.  Dave’s Garden also has a short description of it. If you don’t know ‘Dave’s Garden’, it’s well worth a foray, a great site with lots of useful information on it about cultivation and anything to do with gardening.

I am also in love with the colour-co-ordinated bug in the photograph. No idea what it is, but what a great colour combination!

2 thoughts on “If you go down to the New Forest today…

  1. Do you mean the moth or beetle? The moth is a 5-spot Burnet I think. No idea about the beetle. The gladioli are lovely, similar to G. Byzantinus (which I have all over the garden because I buy more each year)


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