Answer: Gladiolus are native to dry and warm-winter southern Africa. They just can't make it through a Connecticut winter.
Try them again this spring. Only this year, after the blooms have fade, give the plants a good feeding of organic fertilizer (compost or composted manure). This will give the developing bulbs (technically corms) a chance to store the energy they need to produce gorgeous flowers next year as well. After a light frost, dig them up with a garden fork. Clean and seperate them keeping only the biggest and best looking ones, and place them in open trays in some protected spot to dry out. If you don't have too many of them, they can be tied up like onions and hung in a well ventilated place until they are dried out. After about 3 weeks remove the paper-like covering and put them back to continue drying. After another 2 or 3 weeks renders them nice and dry, pack them away a cool and dry location and replant them in spring.
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