The most eye-catching flower to bloom here in Cornwall during May and June is the ungainly named Gladiolus communis subsp. byzantinus (Byzantine Gladiolus) or better known here as Whistling Jacks. They are native to the Mediterranean area and have narrow sword-shaped leaves and deep magenta coloured flowers, each one with an iridescent sparkle. Coming back each year this plant will naturalise if grown in favourable conditions – they like moisture and being sheltered from strong winds and may like a warm mulch to get them through the winter months.

They are hardy in most Southern regions of the UK and in other colder areas they can be grown in containers and brought into a warmer space for the winter.

A relic of the Scily bulb fields it is extensively naturalised throughout the Scillies, where it is called Whistling Jacks, a name also used in Cornwall. Along the George V walk in Hayle they are grown in profusion amidst contrasting lime green Euphorbia

or toning pink Cistus (rock roses) and daisies.

Flowers on Friday

18 thoughts on “Flowers on Friday

  1. I love the name too. They naturalise in my sweetheart’s garden in Mississippi, but I have never seen them looking as good in the UK… until now. They look stunning against the euphorbia.

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