DUC DE BERLIN, 1854        
This rare ‘Duke’ is “deliciously fragrant” (W.N. Craig, 1905), and its bold color pattern — evoking Renaissance pageantry and the shields of heraldry — is one of the most enduringly popular in all of tulip history. In fact, if we assembled gardeners from, say, 1650, 1750, and 1850 and asked them to choose whichever of our tulips they liked best, we’re sure ‘Duc de Berlin’ would rank in their Top Ten. Single Early, 8-10”, zones 4a-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus. Last offered in 2011. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.
DUC D’ORANGE, 1829        
Although the International Register dates this colorful relic only to “before 1875,” we’ve found it listed in catalogs from 1869 (Vick), 1846 (Carter), 1830 (Prince), and the Hortus Addlestonensis of 1829. With old-fashioned, pointed petals of gold and orange brush-stroked with red, it’s named for the father of Dutch independence, Willem van Oranje. Very limited supply, Single Early, 10-12", zones 4a-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus Bulborum. Last offered in 2013. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.
DUC VAN TOL AURORA, 1700        
Tiny red flames ornament this winsome little tulip, spreading and intensifying as it matures. If you can bear to, cut a blossom for inside so you can enjoy the evolving pattern — which is different on every one — up close. It’s one of the fabled Duc van Tols, a group of miniature, extra-early tulips that grew in every stylish garden from about 1600 to 1900 — and now have all but disappeared. 5-7 inches tall, zones 4b-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus Bulborum. Last offered in 2011. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.
DUC VAN TOL SCARLET, 1850        
Short, bright, and extra-early, these fairy tulips grew in every stylish garden from about 1600-1900. But when gardeners went crazy for tall, late, pastel tulips, the ‘Ducs’ all but vanished. A perfect little miniature at 5-7 inches tall, ‘Scarlet’ is classic and sublime. Very early, zones 4b-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus. Last offered in 2010. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.
DUC VAN TOL VIOLET, 1700        
Dusky purplish-rose edged with ivory, ‘Violet’ is one of the most unusual of the ‘Ducs’, a group of short, extra-early tulips that grew in every stylish garden from about 1600-1900. Perfect little miniatures at 5-7 inches tall, the ‘Ducs’ are the earliest traditional garden tulips to bloom each spring. Zones 4b-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus. Last offered in 2016. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.
DUC VAN TOL YELLOW, 1830        
This bright, sunny little tulip is deep yellow, and to our eye it’s the most elegantly shaped of all the Ducs. Try it combined with deep purple johnny-jump-ups — spring perfection! 5-7”, zones 4b-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus Bulborum. Last offered in 2004. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.
ELECTRA, 1905        
True stock! Neither words nor film can quite capture the color of this heart-pounding double. It’s a rose so deep it’s almost red – but not red – an intense purplish-crimson like . . . homemade raspberry jelly? We quit offering ‘Electra’ a decade ago when Dutch stocks became hopelessly confused with a crayola-red impostor, but these bulbs from the Hortus Bulborum are the real deal, and thrilling. Double Early, 12-14”, zones 4b-7a(8aWC), from the Hortus Bulborum. Last offered in 2014. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.
FANTASY, 1910        
One of the most popular and important tulips of the 20th century, this pastel beauty brought parrot tulips back into vogue after they’d been scorned for decades as merely oddities. A sport of the great ‘Clara Butt’, it’s a wonderfully ruffled shell-pink with subtle flickerings of spring green and cream. Although it seemed lost in 2012, it’s back and we’re thrilled to share it with you. Parrot, 20-22”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Last offered in 2015. We lost our grower and haven’t found another who offers authentic stock.
GENERAL NEY, 1837        Rarest & Web-Only
A bit dazed after looking at row after row of antique tulips, I snapped to attention when ‘General Ney’ caught my eye. It’s decidedly different, a rich dark cordovan – or port? mahogany? – that glows with intensity. Its old-fashioned, globular shape sets it apart, too. Exceptionally rare, it’s named for the inspiring leader that Napolean called “the bravest of the brave.” Dutch Breeder/Single Late, 18-20”, zones 4a-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus Bulborum. Last offered in 2017. With luck the Hortus will offer us more bulbs this fall. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.
GERBRAND KIEFT, 1951        
This jewel-toned double is named for one of our kind of guys. The founder of Hybrida, an innovative Dutch bulb-house, Kieft was also a tireless advocate for Double Late tulips, preserving and promoting them long after they’d fallen out of fashion. With its broad cups of wine-red and ivory petals, his namesake tulip is a fitting memorial. Double Late, 12-16”, zones 4a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Last offered in 2013. ‘Gerbrand Kieft’ seems to have gone commercially extinct, but we’ll keep searching for it!
Page 3 of Tulips: Lost?
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