• In the Loop: Glads to Go – Hope and healing bloom

In just over 10 years, John and Barb Meyer have gone from a few gladiola bulbs to a few acres of gladiolas, which they gladly give away to patients and nursing home residents each week.John and Barb Meyer in their farm jeep and surrounded by blooming gladiolas

It started more than a decade ago with a few gladiola bulbs from their son. Today, those starter bulbs have (ahem) bloomed into three full acres of seemingly limitless varieties and colors of gladiolas on the Potsdam, Minnesota, farm of John and Barb Meyer. "We've grown more than 1,000 varieties of glads over the past 10 years," John tells us. "We have another 35 named varieties that we've introduced ourselves — one for each of our grandchildren except one, which will hopefully change this year."

With that kind of flower power, one might think the Meyers are making a healthy sum and single-handedly keeping southeastern Minnesota in gladiolas. But theirs is more a labor of love. They give away the bulk of their bounty to nursing home residents and hospital patients throughout Rochester, including those at Mayo Clinic Hospital — Rochester, Saint Marys Campus.

"We enjoy doing it," John tells us. "It's a hobby for us to grow them and to hybridize them, and it's kind of a hobby to give them away, too, I guess, though my wife calls it more of an obsession." Read the rest of their story.

This story originally appeared on the In the Loop blog.

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