Notes from Up North

Although we're not the northernmost supplier of gladiolus in the Western Hemisphere, we're pretty far up there! With that in mind, the annual letter which appears in our catalog is called "Notes from Up North." Generally we convince Paul to write it while Elisabeth and the rest of the Cates Family Glads team work on inventory and creating the price list. It's our way of keeping in touch with our loyal customer base.

January 2017

It’s cold and icy in East Vassalboro, and our minds are on what the coming summer will bring us.

2016 was dry. Very dry. We got our planting done in record time, and then experienced nearly an entire month without a drop of rain. As you can imagine, many of our varieties objected to this kind of treatment, and as a result some simply didn’t grow. We lost 35 varieties of mature bulbs to the drought.

However! We didn’t lose those varieties entirely. We had a great harvest from bulblets last year, despite the drought. We’ll be restocking some of those temporarily missing varieties in next year’s catalog. Those bulblets really saved our skins!

We’re really looking forward to 2017’s crop, since the bulblets not only saved several mature varieties, but introduced some new trial varieties (as well as some old timers we’d phased out of our commercial grow before we began this catalog). Expect to see some new or returning faces in upcoming listings.

Returning to this year’s list is a Cates Family Glads favorite, True Love. This robust pink-salmon glad has stood the test of time (and drought) and remains healthy and gorgeous.

We’ll also be promoting something a little different in 2017 — our daughter Helen and her husband will be selling organic, Maine-grown table and seed garlic this summer. If you’re a foodie (or trying to stave off some vampires), keep an eye out on our website and Facebook page for garlic harvest season! We’ve also added a line to our order form so you can indicate whether you’re interested in receiving more information closer to the garlic harvest.

Whether it’s glads or garlic, we wish you a fantastic 2017 growing season. May it be wetter than the last!

Previous Letters

2016: "We’re thinking back to last summer..." [READ MORE]
2015: "The summer of 2014 had mild weather with occasional rain..." [READ MORE]
2014: "2013 was a good year for glads..." [READ MORE]
2013: "We finished planting our glad bulbs on May 31st..." [READ MORE]
2012: "This is rare! Finally we had a growing season..." [READ MORE]
2011: "Well, you see, it’s like this..." [READ MORE]
2010: "We've never had a summer like the summer of 2009..." [READ MORE]
2009: "This growing season was too little of this, too much of that..." [READ MORE]
2008: "We moved our glads to new ground in 2007..." [READ MORE]
2007: "Another wet summer meant planting between the raindrops..." [READ MORE]
2006: "That was a stunning picture of the new All-American glad..." [READ MORE]
2005: "Shortly after the Albany convention I received a call..." [READ MORE]
2001: "We feel a strong sense of loyalty to old-time glads..." [READ MORE]
2000: "This year I resolved to follow Botran directions exactly..." [READ MORE]
1997: "If you're selling glads commercially, color becomes your focus..." [READ MORE]
1996: "It always seemed to me to be a minor scandal..." [READ MORE]