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. We’ll offer it again whenever bulbs are available. For an alert subscribe to our email newsletter.
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. We hope to offer it again someday. For an alert, sign up for our email newsletter.
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. We’ll offer it again whenever bulbs are available. For an alert subscribe to our email newsletter.
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. We may offer it again periodically, or we could special order it for you.
CHRYSOLORA, 1872        Rarest
The finest yellow tulip of the late Victorian age, ‘Chrysolora’ was offered in virtually every US catalog from Rochester’s Briggs and Bros. of 1872 well into the 1920s. Charles Allen in his 1893 Bulbs and Tuberous-Rooted Plants included it on his short list of a dozen best Single Early tulips (with ‘Couleur Cardinal’, ‘Keizerskroon’, ‘Lac van Rijn’, and ‘Pottebakker White’) and praised it as “one of the earliest, deep yellow, and handsome.” Single Early, 10-12 inches, zones 4a-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus. Last offered in 2016. We’ll offer it again whenever bulbs are available. For an alert, sign up for our email newsletter.
COTTAGE MAID, 1857        Rarest
Now all but extinct, this sturdy little rose and white tulip was a popular American sweetheart for many, many years. New York City’s J.M. Thorburn offered it as early as 1872, and it continued to be widely catalogued well into the 1930s, a reflection of its charm and excellence. Thanks to the Hortus Bulborum for saving it! Single Early, 10”, zones 4a-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus. Last offered in 2016. We may offer it again periodically, or we can special order it for you.
COURONNE POURPRE BONTLOF, 1881        
Rippling leaves edged with ribbons of gold make a stunning setting for the wine-red blooms of ‘Variegated Purple Crown’. We’ve traced it back as far as Thomas Moore’s 1881 Epitome of Gardening, and in 1889 The Journal of Horticulture called it “quite as handsome as variegated yuccas.” Its French name suggests that it originated in Flanders, a back-country part of the Netherlands famed for its expert gardeners and independent tastes. (Does that sound like you?) Single Early, 10-12”, zones 4a-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus. Last offered in 2011. We hope to offer it again soon. For an alert, sign up for our email newsletter.
DIANA, 1909        
Cool ‘Diana’ (named for the goddess of woodlands, wildlife, and the moon) is an elegant ivory, a favorite color in the stylish new perennial borders of the Arts and Crafts era. In fact, Gertrude Jekyll herself featured drifts of white tulips like ‘Diana’ in many of her dreamy cottage gardens. Single Early, 10-12”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Last offered in 2009. ‘Diana’ is now commercially extinct, alas!
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. We may offer it again someday. For an alert, sign up for our email newsletter.
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. We may offer it again periodically, or we could special order it for you.
Page 2 of Tulips: Lost?
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