I love gladiolus stems. They are very economical at this time of year. My local supermarket sells bunches of ten for under $2.00. They are a great flower for a Fourth of July flower arrangement.
I also took several reference photographs for future close-focus paintings. I am certainly getting a lot of mileage out of the money I spent.
Floral Arrangement Tips for Gladiolus: Cut stems on an angle with floral snips. This enables more of the stem to soak up water. To force gladiolus florets to open quickly pinch off the top tips.
More tips can be found here: Gladiolus Tips for Floral Arrangements