Architect grows Gladioluses for fun

NEW ULM – An architect who became interested in growing flowers as a hobby when he moved to Lino Lakes years ago won the Carl Fischer Award at the Brown County Fair.

Jim Butler, an architect currently designing an 11-story corporate headquarters for Maurice’s department stores in downtown Duluth talked about how his passion for gladiolus flowers grew to what is now 2,500 of the flowers growing in his backyard.

Carl Fischer was a St. Charles floriculturist who created many new varieties of gladiolus flowers. St. Charles holds a Gladiolus Days festival each August that recognizes him.

The August birth flower, gladiolus flowers symbolize remembrance, strength of character, dedication and devotion to family, according to the Minnesota Gladiolus Society.

“I bought a house on an acre of land with no trees in Lino Lakes,” Butler said. “The soil was sandy, but I loved Gladioluses and knew they would grow well in sunny, sandy conditions.”

Butler said he’s been showing flowers at the Brown County Fair for the past few years and plans to keep on coming. “It’s the largest county fair Gladiolus flower show in the world, (with more than 500 stems (spikes),” he added. “And the Minnesota State Fair is the largest state fair Gladiolus flower show in the world.”

Butler said the Minnesota Gladiolus Society offers free flowers for people interested in growing and showing them. He said more information on the flowers is available by e-mailing

Joy Clobes of rural Fairfax and the Chairperson of the Minnesota Gladiolus Society State Show at the Brown County Fair said many gladiolus growers are in their 40s and 50s but are always looking for younger people who enjoy growing and arranging the flowers to join the society.

“We all get along well with everyone else that does this but we enjoy working with kids that are interested in it,” Clobes said. “I’m working with a young girl from Gibbon who is doing it for her 4-H projects.”

Open Class Division G Horticulture flowers results: GC Grand Champion, RC Reserve Champion, H Honors, S Sweepstakes, SC Supreme Champion, SRC Supreme Reserve Champion:

GC Mary Blank, Cassandra Kretsch, LeAnna Windschitl (2), Jerome Zitzman, Joy Clobes (3), Lynn Hacker, Abby Augustin, Ashley Gag (2), Holly Covington.

RC Alice Manderfeld, Lenora Zitzman (2), Dan Hacker, Janet Krieg, Joy Clobes, Brenda Clobes, Lynn Hacker, Austin Augustin.

H Kari Beran, Jerome Zitzman, Deb Steinberg, Kathy Covington, Julie Riederer, Mary Blank, Brenda Clobes, Lynn Hacker, Shirley Henderson, Janet Krieg (2).

Division F Horticulture, fruits, vegetables

GC Debra WIeland, Tim Cordes, Cheri Tomschin, Zachary Helget, Tony Guggisberg, Mike Tomschin. H Sue Kral (2), Mike Tomschin, Jerome Zitzman, Cheri Tomschin, Joyce Halvorson, Cynthia Surprenant.

Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at

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