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 2016

Happy 2016 from the snowy village of East Vassalboro!

We’re thinking back to last summer — it was a hot one! We had visitors from out-of-state during midsummer; daughter Dorothee and her children came to stay for several weeks. Our house was often full of family, children and grandchildren alike! A surprise “165th” combined birthday party for us at the Vassalboro Grange Hall was the highlight of our summer.

Despite the heat, the growing season was decent. We were able to restock a few varieties that have been absent from our listing in recent years, and we’re testing out a lot of new (to us) varieties in our “special” glad field that’s reserved for varieties of which we have fewer than 20 bulbs. Some of those varieties may be present in our 2017 catalog.

In lieu of new introductions, this year we’d like to feature two of our old favorites. These are glads that have truly stood the test of time, surviving the decades with impeccable health.

Atom is a small, very cute medium red glad with a narrow white halo around the petals. This 1946 introduction is one of the oldest, healthiest glads in our collection.

Early Highlight, introduced in 1973, is very appropriately named! This bicolored, orange and yellow miniature has been the top of any listing of glads ranked by earliness since its introduction. It’s the sign we wait for every year, because once Early Highlight blooms, glad season is here!

This year’s special was inspired by a glad which, sadly, is absent from our 2016 listing. Baker’s Dozen, one of our most successful “parent” glads for hybridization, is in a restocking year and we hope to have it back in the catalog in 2017. In its honor, we’re running a Baker’s Dozen Special: buy stock of any twelve varieties and we will provide you with bulbs of a thirteenth (our choice) for free!

With hopes for a beautiful, weed-free glad-growing season,



Previous Letters

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]