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 2015

Warm greetings from a cold and windy East Vassalboro, ME!

The summer of 2014 had mild weather with occasional rain. The weeds were prolific and healthy! Our beef cows got a lot of “weed salad.” For health reasons (knee replacement, etc., etc.) I was out of the glad field for most of 2014, but I was hardly missed. Our extended family, organized by son Chris, brought order into the glad field, both in weeding season and during bulb harvesting.

The “low” point of last season came one dark, late summer night when Elisabeth and I were stranded in the back field with a pickup truck full of bulbs. The truck lights didn’t work; the truck wouldn’t start. Finally, we stumbled down the farm road, past the small creek. It’s a wonder we didn't fall in! As is often the case, it was “Chris to the rescue!” He jumpstarted the truck and brought the bulbs down to safe, temporary storage in our greenhouse.

Chris’s contribution continued through drying and cleaning time, until the bulbs were safely in winter storage -- where he then took inventory for our catalog. Daughter Margaret also made major contributions. She was in the glad field almost every weekend this summer, taking pictures for our Facebook page, website, and 2015 catalog (which, at the time of this note, she was in the process of producing).

This year’s catalog marks the return of some heirloom favorites, two new introductions, and the addition of some stunning Eastern European cultivars.

To celebrate our 45th anniversary, we are offering an “early bird special” to our bulb customers. For all orders with a subtotal of $45 or higher which are postmarked on or before March 15th, take 10% off the cost of bulbs before tax and shipping. (Note: sales tax is required for Maine residents only.)

Wishing you a beautiful growing season,



Previous Letters

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]