Gladiolus do not have the best image. What comes to mind for most people are the extravagant hybrids associated with the less than sophisticated Dame Edna Everage. In reality there are many species which come in divers guises, forms and colours. There are a massive 260 species in this genus, a large proportion of which are native to South Africa. Many are extremely beautiful but tender and need a little pampering. The dwarf gladiolus pictured above is probably more on the side of the Dame than the Princess but it definitely has its own charm and does not need any specialist treatment. They are a perfect size, not so tall that they require staking but large enough to make an impression.