Summer Garden Flowers
Issue Date: April 28, 1994
City: Cincinnati, OH
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Lithographed and engraved
Perforations: 11.9 vertically
Throughout their colorful history, flower bulbs have been used for flavorings and medicines, traded for exorbitant prices, and emblazoned on the banners of royalty. But for thousands of years they have been grown, above all, for their beauty in gardens. A billion dollar business, bulbs account for $300 million in sales a year. Although tulips are the most popular worldwide, the gladiolus is still the best-selling bulb in the U.S.
Often called the sword lily, the gladiolus most likely gets its name from its long sword-like leaves. In fact its name in Latin means “little dagger.” Large, silky flowers grow above one another in clusters along one side of the stem. The lower blossoms open first, and if a spike is cut when only the lower flowers are in bloom, the buds above them will continue to open. For this reason gladioluses are a favorite cut flower. A mainstay of the florist trade, more land in the United States (over 20,000 acres) is devoted to raising them commercially than to any other bulb.
This stately flower ranges from one foot to over five feet tall in height and comes in every color of the rainbow - including a blue gladiolus which is grown mainly in South Africa. The most popular colors though, are red, orange, and white.