BEAUTY OF BATH, 1906        
“One of the most enchanting of the Cottage tribe,” said the Scheepers catalog in 1929. A true broken tulip, this British beauty opens with “the most lovely flushes and pencilings of pale to deeper yellow and pinkish lavender to rose” and then matures to a lace-like tracery of purple on white. Our friend Betsy Ginsburg was so enchanted she wrote a time-travelling detective story exploring how it got its name. Late, 16-18”, zones 4a-7b(8bWC), 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.
BESSIE, 1847        
Although unusually old for an English florists’ tulip, ‘Bessie’ can still “break” so beautifully that it wins Premier Flame in shows of the Wakefield and North of England Tulip Society. It’s small-flowered, with burgundy flames on white petals that reflex charmingly as they mature. Broken, 16”, zones 4a-7b(8bWC), 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.
BLACK AND WHITE, 1920        Rarest & Web-Only
Historic? We’re not sure. Extraordinary? Yes! This true broken tulip was discovered at the Hortus Bulborum. It’s not clear whether it’s an heirloom whose label was lost or a newly-broken version of one of their other heirloom varieties, but it’s so stunning we couldn’t resist it. With dark purple flames on creamy white petals, it’s a tulip that Tulipomaniacs of the 1630s would have given a fortune to own! Single Late, 16-20”, zones 4a-7b(8bWC). 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.
BLUE FLAG, 1750        Rarest & Web-Only
The first time this sumptuous, pearly violet, Double Late tulip bloomed, George Washington was still a teenager. Looking a bit like a lavender peony, it’s been favored by connoisseurs ever since, including Anna Pavord who writes in The Tulip that it “holds the record in my own garden for longevity of bloom, standing in good fettle for nearly a month.” 10-12”, zones 4b-7a(8aWC), 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.
BRIDESMAID, 1900        Rarest & Web-Only
With an unusually long, slender shape this lovely broken tulip was introduced by the legendary bulb-house of Krelage and Sons. In 1907 the Peter Henderson catalog praised it as “brilliant cherry rose flushed and striped with scarlet, violet, and white, very distinct.” Aka ‘Maid of Holland’, Single Late, 14-18”, 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.
BRILLIANT STAR, 1906        
Once known as “the Christmas tulip” because it can be forced into bloom for the winter holidays, this brilliant little tulip blooms unusually early outdoors, too. Its glossy red petals are pointed, giving it a star-like form, and when they open wide in the sun to reveal their bright yellow and black center, the effect is truly “grand, rich, and dazzling” (de Jager catalog, 1949). Single Early, 10-12”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Last offered in 2012. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.
BRUNHILDE, 1901        
Named for the blonde-haired valkyrie who perishes in flames at the end of Wagner’s Gotterdammerung, this striking tulip has snow-white petals marked with a broad blaze of sunny yellow – or is that fiery yellow? It first caught our eye many years ago at the Hortus Bulborum, and ever since then we’ve been waiting to offer it. Single Early, 10-12”, zones 4a-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.
CAFE BRUN, 1840        
Opening from dragon-mouthed buds that may remind you of the blood-thirsty plant in The Little Shop of Horrors, ‘Cafè Brun’s ruffled, jagged, over-caffeinated flowers are a deep gold intricately patterned with dusky-red. Although its name means “Brown Coffee” — that is, coffee with milk — it’s not really brown, just wild and cool. Be sure to look for its tiny horns and spurs. (For even older parrots, see ‘Amiral’, ‘Markgraaf’, and ‘Perfecta’.) Parrot, 12-14”, zones 4a-7b(8bWC), 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.
CARDINAL RAMPOLLA, 1913        
When I first saw ‘Cardinal Rampolla’ at the Hortus Bulborum, I grabbed my camera in excitement thinking “I hope we can offer this someday!” Its broad, spade-shaped petals are a rich, dusky gold brushed with burnt orange and cinnamon. A.k.a. ‘Apricot’ and ‘Safrano’, it’s named for Cardinal Rampolla del Tindaro, who became a cause celebre when his election to Pope was vetoed by the Emperor of Austria. Single Early, 12-14”, zones 4a-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus. Last offered in 2008. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.
CERISE GRIS-DE-LIN, 1860        Rarest & Web-Only
“Chocolate with fawn edges” – that’s Shirley Hibbard’s evocative 1865 description of this unusually-colored tulip. But Mrs. King’s 1921 description better captures how it looks in our garden: “soft carmine-rose, shaded fawn and margined creamy white.” Either way, it’s cool! For maximum enjoyment of the chocolate and fawn tones which fade as the flower matures, pick one when it first opens and bring it inside to savor. Single Early, 10-12”, 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.
Page 2 of Tulips: Lost?
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