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  • Elizabeth Reich

What Is That Stalk Growing in the Garden?

Updated: Jul 25

We'll get to that question in a moment, first I want to wish those born in August, Happy Birthday! This post is all about August's birth month flower, Gladiolus.

What the Stalk Was

Turns out the stalk growing in the garden was a gladiolus. It had never made an appearance since we moved to this home seven years ago. Did you know that Gladioli is plural for many gladiolus stalks? I only had one stalk with scarlet and white ruffly flowers. Gladly growing right next to a stepping stone. There was also a katydid hanging out on the flower stalk.

Working Through the Process

This painting was one that had many ugly phases. I worked at trusting the process. Glazing watercolors (painting one layer of paint over another), walking away, rethinking, and continuing. Reaching the finish line was a challenge. My aim was to focus on the brilliant scarlet color, deep shadows, contrasting with the white. The katydid needed to visit too. This piece is more than watercolor, I also used white acrylic ink, gouache for the katydid with a touch of black pen. My painting guidelines were drawn with water-soluble Inktense pencil (by Derwent), the colors just blend into the watercolor paint.

August Birth Month Flower: Gladiolus (aka Glads)

The Gladiolus is in the Iris family Iridaceae, and the Genus name is Gladiolus, from the Latin gladius (sword). There are over 300 species, with miniature to large flowers. Flowers open from the bottom of the stalk, to the top, in mid to late summer.

  • The stalks of Glads can be 2-5 feet tall

  • The flowers are 3-5inches wide

  • Have up to 18 trumpet shaped flowers on one stalk!

Symbolism of Gladiolus

  • Roman spectators would cover the winning gladiator in these colorful blooms.

  • The flower symbolizes endurance, integrity and strength.

  • The plant is also known as the Sword Lily.

  • In Victorian times it represented someone having pierced another's heart, in infatuation.

  • It is also the traditional flower for 40th wedding anniversaries.

  • This flower is native to Africa and the Mediterranean area.

  • At the turn of the 20th century Gladioli arrived in the United States.

A New Gallery Wall Idea

This flower inspired thoughts of Fall, and an Autumnal Gallery Wall. Find the collection here: Gallery Wall Ideas at Society6

Happy Birthday to You if August is your birthday month.

For art prints, wall decor, and product selection delivered to your home, visit my Society6 store by clicking the button below:

Your Painterly Artist,


If you wish to learn more about this flower my resources of information were:

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