10 Virtues of Heirloom Bulbs
(or Why You Should Grow Them)
They’re rich with history.
They offer a living connection with gardeners of the past: the pioneers, Thomas Jefferson, medieval monks, Chinese emperors, or maybe your own grandmother.
They’re great garden plants.
tough and vigorous — they’re survivors, after all;
unusual — offering colors, forms, and special qualities that haven’t been matched by newer bulbs;
bred for gardens — rather than for pot and cut-flower production in greenhouses as so many modern bulbs have been;
graceful and wildflowery — many of them are once-wild plants (no longer wild-collected, of course) or just a generation removed;
fragrant — adding another sensual dimension to your garden;
regionally adapted — thriving in a wide array of difficult climates where many modern bulbs fail (and many of our bulbs are grown for us right here in America rather than in the cool, moist Netherlands);
period appropriate — nothing suits a colonial, Victorian, or Arts-and-Crafts home better than colonial, Victorian, and Arts-and-Crafts bulbs (though most of our customers live in modern houses, and they still love our bulbs!);
rare, endangered, and in need of your help — since the only way to preserve these living artifacts — and their incredible genetic resources — is to grow them!
Why Buy from Us?
We have bulbs you can’t get anywhere else.
We search the globe for wonderful bulbs that everyone else has rushed right past and forgotten about. For many, we are the only U.S. source.
We weed out the counterfeits for you.
With undisclosed substitutions the norm in the bulb trade, even savvy gardeners get fooled. So we grow and evaluate every variety we sell, and if we find a counterfeit we’ll tell you — and make it right for you.
We’re saving great old bulbs from extinction.
It’s not just in the rainforest that unique, valuable plants are being lost forever. You can help “Save the Bulbs!” by buying them here where your dollars support our research and rescue mission; by growing them; and by helping us spread the word.
That means real human beings, not machines, hand-pick every bulb we ship. It means when you call you can always talk with one of us. It means we work with small farmers and offer bulbs too rare or delicate for the big guys to handle. And it means we’ll treat you like a friend. Just ask our customers!
To learn more, visit our About Us page.
We Stand By Our Bulbs
We strive to deliver the very best quality bulbs and we guarantee that they will be true to name and grow when planted following our Planting and Care instructions which we include with every order. If any of our bulbs fail to grow for you, we will work with you to discover what may have gone wrong and to get you on the path to future success. Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (734) 995-1486.
Praise from Customers & Garden Writers
“I am a first-time customer. On the phone I was treated like royalty! My bulbs arrived in excellent condition with a hand-written thank-you from Scott and lots of clear instructions. I will order again!”
— Lisa Wahlund, Otis, Oregon
“One of my favorite bulb sources.”
— Anne Raver, The New York Times
“When I talk about places to start shopping for tough plants and passalongs, I wave around three catalogs and give out web addresses: yours, Mike Shoup’s (Antique Rose Emporium), and Kent Whealy’s (Seed Savers). I mention that y’all have three things in common: a love of plants that goes beyond the pale, you network with other hardcore plantsmen, and you share both plants and what you learn.”
— Felder Rushing, horticultural demi-god and author of Passalong Plants
“This will be my third order with you — your bulbs have been the BEST. I receive other bulb catalogs, but I no longer order from them. Why not? Because I know I will get true stock, excellent service, and top-size, healthy bulbs from people who truly love plants and want to preserve them!”
— Jay Williams, Oakland, California
“[One] of my favorite sources, Old House Gardens, offers heritage bulbs of exceptional quality.”
— Ann Lovejoy (author of The American Mixed Border, Gardening from Scratch, etc.), Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“What a SHOW! My neighbors and friends are green with envy! I enjoy telling everyone they are antique varieties, too. I know of no one who has those varieties, and that makes my garden unique. Thank you for the work you do to preserve such lovely, fragrant flowers.”
— Wendy Zumbaum, Jacksonville, Arkansas
One of Ten “Best Sites for Gardeners and Greenhorns Alike”
— Country Living
“This is an excellent company in every way. [Several of] the rare hyacinth bulbs they sent me had two or even three stalks per bulb! The lilies were healthy, huge, and came with concise instructions — perfect for a first-time lily grower. Packing was carefully done and environmentally friendly, ...and service has been friendly, knowledgeable and prompt. Scott’s a real treasure chest of practical gardening knowledge. A truly great gardening source!”
— Cynthia O’Rourke, Longmont, Colorado (posted at GardenWatchdog.com, an award-winning website where thousands of gardeners have posted comments on hundreds of mail-order nurseries. Check it out and add your two-cents’ worth!)
“Though we rarely single out a source for special recommendation, OHG is a valuable exception — and readers tell us its bulbs are always of highest quality.”
— Thomas Powell, The Avant Gardener
“I don’t know which I’ve appreciated more, your bulbs, your descriptions and comments, or your attitude. You’ve been a welcome oasis in a world of hype and false promises.”
— Sandra Urban, Bluffton, Ohio
“I just wanted you to know that the bulbs we ordered from you are absolutely beautiful! The gardens look superb and it is great to know that we once again have the heirloom bulbs that those from 200 years ago once enjoyed.”
— Dean Norton, Director of Horticulture, Mount Vernon
(We are proud that our bulbs also grown at the Smithsonian, Hearst Castle, Old Sturbridge Village, Mepkin Abbey, Monticello, Filoli, the Chicago Botanic Garden, The Denver Botanic Garden, the San Antonio Botanic Garden, and many other public gardens and historic sites .
Thanks to Scott’s rescuing, collecting, and championing of heirloom bulbs, many near-vanished old charmers are available again for gardeners.”
— Tovah Martin, Victoria
“I am so spoiled by your bulbs, I don’t order from anywhere else.”
— Anna Marie Wieland, Cleveland, Ohio
“I love your catalog, your mission, and the friendly way you treat customers. I especially appreciate your consideration of our growing conditions here. Keep including those Southern bulbs!”
— Sarah Dodd, St. Simons Island, Georgia
“Odd as it may seem, a bulb catalog produced by an Ann Arbor company offers the best collection of traditional Southern bulbs in the country...“The Campernelle jonquils are a case in point. Most growers proudly offer Holland-grown bulbs that struggle to survive along the Gulf Coast. Kunst buys his Campernelles from growers in Louisiana and Texas. Having grown both the Holland-produced bulbs and the Southern strains, this garden writer can personally attest there is a world of difference.”
— Bill Finch, Mobile Register
“Once again your bulbs were all spectacular.... I can hardly wait for next year. Keep up the great catalog of wonderful little jewels for us gardeners who enjoy beauty and scent and uniqueness over modern and big.”
— Dawn Wilson, Winlock, Washington
“Thank you for your personal attention to my order and the gracious way you handled my complaint. With service like that, you have gained a very loyal customer for years to come.”
— Ilsa Bagby, Smyrna, Georgia
“Thanks for your glorious bulbs. They are performing beyond my very high expectations....”
— Donna Mack, Grayslake, Illinois
“Owner Scott Kunst is a trove of wisdom and enthusiasm.”
— Barbara Mahany, Chicago Tribune
“Thank you for the great service! I ordered bulbs from several different catalogs and web sites this year. Your bulbs were the best.”
— Janet Carpenter, Fresno, California
“This amazing catalogue lists scores of heirloom bulbs that are hard-to-find treasures.”
— Joan Lee Faust, The New York Times