Pleasant Valley Glads & Dahlias
PO Box 213
West Suffield CT 06093

(860) 798-8189 Daytime
(860) 668-7868 After 7 PM

Email pleasantvalleyglads@cox.net



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Western Massachusetts Gladiolus Society gets ready for annual show and flower sale Aug. 25

 
Each year around this time, the brown earth at a Connecticut farm on North Grand Street in West Suffield pops with rows and rows of tall, colorful gladioli, a tradition farm co-owner Gary W. Adams has looked forward to for the past 50 years. 

“Once the glads start showing they keep rolling,” said Adams, the eastern regional vice president of the North American Gladiolus Council. “Every year I still get excited about them."
Near the end of August, about four acres of the farm will become a sea of hundreds of varieties gladiolas, the signature flower that will be featured at the Western Massachusetts Gladiolus Society Show and Flower Sale on Aug. 25 at the Eastfield Mall in Springfield. 

Inside the mall, eight tables will be set up to host the competition. Set up runs from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and judging goes from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Growers of the colorful flowers will compete against each other in a variety of classes, including original color, quality of the flower and number of buds. 

As many as a dozen growers are expected to participate from Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Connecticut. At the end of the show, flowers will be sold to the public. 

For more information, contact Adams at (860) 798-8189. 

The Adams family helps run the annual show that draws participants from all over New England as well as Pennsylvania and New York. 

Gary Adams began growing and showing gladiolus in competitions when he was very young, even winning the grand championship at the New England Gladiolus Society show in Upton, at age 5. 

By the time he was 16, he became certified to serve as a judge in competitions. Since then, he and his family have grown the flowers, known for the large variety of colors, to sell to local florists and flower markets and to take part in competitions around the Northeast. 

To add to their floral arsenal, 30 years ago the family began growing and selling dahlias, a flower Roger Adams Jr. took a special interest in and has successfully competed with over the years. 

Gary Adams leans on a the wooden handle of a hoe as he talks recently about how the flower business can be tricky as farmers like himself are always at the mercy of the weather. 

Last year’s tornado and other weather events hurt the flower crops, Gary Adams said, and despite this dry season they are growing well. The success is due in part to an irrigation system they installed later last year. 

The system includes irrigation for 18 rows (each 628-feet long) of gladioli in one section of the farm hidden from the road. 

To help get a flourishing crop of gladioli, Gary Adams recommends using calcium nitrate with a low acidity in the trenches as well as a mixture of humus (partially decomposed organic matter). 

He suggests spacing the rows of gladioli three-feet apart and up to six inches in the ground for the larger bulbs. 

The Adams family, including Gary’s wife, Karen, is passionate about their flowers and would like others to get the same joyful experience as they do from participating in societies that promote the growing and appreciation of gladiolus and dahlias. 

Having seen a decline in memberships over the years, Gary Adams said growers should consider joining a group that shares the same interest in growing flowers. 

He added that the dues to join these societies are reasonable and you can meet other growers and learn from each other. 

“Glads have always been my first love for showing, probably because I started so young. It’s fun competing and prepping for shows,” Gary Adams said. “I’ve seen a lot of good people come and go from the societies. It’s not like you’re going to get rich doing this, but you do it for the love.” 

 
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