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 2013

Hello from the warm Cates kitchen in East Vassalboro,

We finished planting our glad bulbs on May 31st, the earliest date ever. This was largely due to the presence of Elisabeth’s 16-year-old German nephew Friedrich (Freddy), who said when he arrived, “I’m here to help you, not to do touristy things!”

As usual, we said in 2012 that we would have to cut back… and, of course, we wound up with perhaps 50 more varieties of glads than we’d had in 2011.

July was hot and dry. Our son Chris, always concerned for his aging parents, often said, “Dad, you aren’t working outside in the heat today.” (Our daughter Margaret established a rule whereby I wasn’t allowed to work in temperatures that were higher than my age minus five.) Well, I may be aging, but I don’t give up easily. The solution: up at 5 AM, in the field at 5:30, about three hours of weeding in the cool of the morning. I came down from the field with muddy hands, realizing that the heavy morning dew was saving the glads from serious heat damage. A new flame weeder was also a help in weed control.

Our flower and bulb harvest were both successful. The bulblet harvest was the best we’ve had in recent years.

This catalog lists more varieties in the heirloom and the younger lists than last year’s did. We’re happy to offer four introductions: two of our own Baker’s Dozen seedlings, Ethan (465 M) and Persephone (466 M); Angel Wings (201 M), an outstanding variety from Dave Kollasch, whose Fruehling we introduced in 2011; and our first Russian intro, Gromov’s beautiful Maya Plisetskaya (423 M), which was previously introduced in Russia in 1997, but is being registered in North America for the first time by Cates Family Glads.

That’s already more than I intended to write, but there’s still room to say, “Happy gardening in 2013!”

Previous Letters

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]