Rich rice planters on the Carolina coast showcased their wealth in opulent gardens in the antebellum period, introducing a variety of exotic imported plants to the American continent. Among them were bright parrot gladiolas from Africa.
Eventually the glads escaped their plantation homes to appear on the humble roadsides all along the coast. At the end of May, they make a flamboyant show visible a mile away, free to rich and poor alike.
We found these all along South Island Road — a road once lined with wealthy plantations — near our house, and ends at the Intercoastal Waterway and the ferry to Cat Island.
I bet you can guess — hummingbirds love them!