by Andrea Brassfield
The late Mike Wagner was fondly remembered as a man who loved and appreciated nature. As a science and biology teacher, he enthusiastically taught for thirty-four years. But his passion for science, and specifically genetics went well beyond the classroom as he and his wife spent much of their personal time in their garden. Over a 40 year span, they grew their flower garden to more than an acre in size with more than 1800 varieties of gladiolus.
Gladiolus hybridization was one of Mr. Wagner’s greatest joys and his work led to the development and introduction of many named seedlings into the commercial flower market not to mention the success his new creations experienced on the show table.
Thirty-seven years ago, in 1980, Mr. Wagner, introduced Pink Elf, one of his award winning gladiolus. Last month, at the Annual North American Gladiolus Council Convention, in Myrtle Beach, VA, it was announced that Mr. Wagner’s Pink Elf was being inducted into the International Gladiolus Hall of Fame.
Mr. Wagner’s wife, Diana, received correspondence from Jane Bruce, Curator of the International Gladiolus Hall of Fame, letting her know about Pink Elf’s induction. She received both a plaque and certificate with a description and picture of Pink Elf, letting her know the information would be included and archived at the International Hall of Fame. The certificate reads: “This Certifies that Pink Elf is honored in The Gladiolus Hall of Fame inclusion in which is limited to those cultivars which represent outstanding achievement in the Gladiolus world. And which have, thereby, contributed significantly to the betterment of Gladiolus. Michael E. Wagner 1980”.
Pink Elf was one of Mr. Wagner’s favorite creations and is described as a ruffled 300 size pink with yellow blotch. It was introduced out of a cross of K&M’s “butterfly” Elf x Parfait (Lauras 1958 233). It is still cataloged by Peters and remains healthy, still winning ribbons both in North American and the UK.
Pink Elf is also described as proven to be a great parent, at least among North American breeders: Elfin, from Bates; Rose Elf (and others) from MacKenzie; sister-seedlings Cream de Mint and Pink Doll) from Everson; and others too numerous to mention. It is still being used successfully, at least as a seed parent.
The International Gladiolus Hall of Fame is in the Michener Library at the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, and is a repository for gladiolus literature from throughout the world and honors both outstanding gladiolus varieties and people who have notably contributed to gladiolus culture.