Old House Gardens
From America’s Expert Source for Heirloom Flower Bulbs

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Dicentra cucullaria, DUTCHMAN’S BREECHES, 1731
My first-grade teacher Mrs. Trickett introduced me to these curious little woodland wildflowers that have been grown in gardens since colonial days. Decades later I planted a few in a shady spot in my own garden where they’ve multiplied happily. Over finely-cut, soft green leaves, their flowers dangle like old-fashioned Dutch pantaloons, charming all who see them. Formerly Dielytra and Corydalis, 7-10”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), nursery-grown for us in Tennessee. Chart to compare.
DI50Add to basket:5/$14.5010/$27.5025/$62.5050/$116100/$215
Eranthis hyemalis, WINTER ACONITE, 1578
If these extra-early cups of sunshine have failed you, try ours! They’re wax-dipped so they won’t dry out and die before planting. Blooming even earlier than snowdrops, they multiply eagerly in light shade, and are so animal-proof that the Elizabethans called them Little Yellow Woolfes-bain. 3-5”, zones 5a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Chart to compare.
DI22Add to basket:10/$925/$2150/$39100/$72250/$162
Erythronium americanum, TROUT LILY, DOG-TOOTH VIOLET, 1665
This rarely-offered native of our eastern woodlands is neither a violet nor a lily — nor any of the common European or West Coast hybrids — but it is exquisite. Its graceful yellow flowers nod above hauntingly beautiful leaves of milk-green dappled with brown, the inspiration for one of its many names, trout lily. One caveat, though: even our top-size bulbs may not bloom their first year, and though they’ll multiply eagerly, their offspring will take years to reach blooming-size. Aka adder’s tongue, amberbell, fawn lily, 7-10”, part shade, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), nursery-grown for us in Tennessee. Chart to compare.
DI51Add to basket:5/$13.5010/$25.5025/$5850/$108100/$200
Freesia alba, ANTIQUE FREESIA, 1878        Rarest
This is the original, blissfully fragrant, wild white freesia that naturalizes happily in Mediterranean climates with mild, dry summers. It’s also “entirely at home in the South, returning faithfully,” says Scott Ogden in Garden Bulbs for the South, so expert gardeners may want to try it there, too. Smaller than modern forms, 6-12”, zones 8a(8-10bWC), grown for us in California. Chart to compare.
DI23Add to basket:3/$145/$2210/$41.5025/$94.5050/$175
Fritillaria meleagris, SNAKE’S-HEAD FRITILLARY, 1572
One of our perennial bestsellers, this odd little bulb has nodding flowers of maroon and dusky rose (or occasionally white), and each is checkered! Grown since colonial days, it prefers light shade and cool, moist sites. Our bulbs are wax-dipped to preserve their vitality. We forgot to plant some until February one year and they still bloomed! Aka guinea-hen flower, 10-12”, zones 4a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Chart to compare.
DI04Add to basket:10/$1125/$25.5050/$47.50100/$88250/$198
Galanthus elwesii, ELWES OR GIANT SNOWDROP, 1875
If you like traditional snowdrops (and who doesn’t?), we bet you’ll love G. elwesii. Don’t let the “giant” in its name put you off. It simply looks like an especially robust, well-grown G. nivalis and blooms even earlier. Animal-proof, 6-8”, zones 5a-8a(9aWC) (more heat-tolerant than G. nivalis), from Holland. Chart to compare.
DI29Add to basket:5/$9.2510/$17.5025/$4050/$74100/$137
Galanthus nivalis, TRADITIONAL SNOWDROP, 1597
An icon of spring for centuries, this beloved woodland wildflower seems to be born from the melting snow. Its brave little bells ring in the spring well before crocus, animals leave it alone, and it multiplies without care in light shade. In other words, it’s a springtime essential! 5-6”, zones 3a-7a(8aWC), from Holland. Chart to compare.
DI06Add to basket:5/$10.2510/$19.5025/$4450/$82100/$152
Galanthus, MAGNET SNOWDROP, 1889
One of the most popular snowdrops for over a century, this strong-growing beauty holds its flowers on unusually long pedicels which, in the words of the great E.A. Bowles, “causes them to swing to and fro in a slight breeze,” making it especially graceful and “easily recognized even from a distance.” We’re planning to offer one different, extra-special snowdrop every year from now on — so if ‘Magnet’ “attracts” you, now is the time to get it! 5-7”, zones 4b-7b(9bWC), from Holland. We’re sorry but we’re not planning to offer this in 2015.
Gladiolus byzantinus, BYZANTINE GLADIOLUS, 1629
As seen in Fine Gardening! This is NOT the puny, cheap impostor you’ll get virtually everywhere else, but Southern-grown corms of the authentic, deep magenta heirloom that’s winter hardy to zone 6 and multiplies happily year after year. A wild, perennial glad, it blooms with graceful, orchid-like flowers in earliest summer as it has since colonial days. Bill Welch of Texas A&M calls it “a delightful plant often found in old cottage gardens,” Christopher Lloyd planted it lavishly at Great Dixter, and our customers rave about it! Aka G. communis var. byzantinus ‘Cruentus’, 24-36”, zones 6a-9b(11WC), from Louisiana and Texas. Learn more. Chart to compare.
DI25Add to basket:1/$13.753/$37.505/$5910/$11025/$248
Hyacinthoides hispanica ‘Excelsior’ SPANISH BLUEBELL, 1601
Rugged and fool-proof, this easy classic thrives virtually everywhere. “The stately Spanish bluebell is found in all old Southern gardens,” Elizabeth Lawrence wrote, and it’s hardy north to zone 5, too (or even 3, some say!). ‘Excelsior’ dates back back to 1906 and is the most vigorous and floriferous form. Aka wood hyacinth, squill, late spring blooming, 15-18”, zones 5a-8b(10bWC), from Holland. Chart to compare.
DI26Add to basket:10/$12.5025/$2950/$54100/$100250/$225
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