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Dahlias: Lost Forever?

From America’s Expert Source for Heirloom Flower Bulbs
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Though preservation is our mission, bulbs drop out of our catalog every year.

Sometimes it’s because the harvest was too small. Sometimes it’s because they’re widely available elsewhere and don’t need our help. And sometimes it’s because we’ve lost our only known source due to severe weather (cold, drought, etc.), health problems (a debilitating stroke), or economic woes (small farmers are always at risk).

The good news is that, in time, we’re often able to return these bulbs to our catalog. So here’s a list of many we’ve offered in the past. For an alert the moment they’re available again, subscribe to our free email newsletter. Or to find a similar bulb, try our easy Advanced Bulb Search.


Fall-planted:     Crocus       Daffodils       Hyacinths       Lilies       Peonies       Tulips       Diverse

Spring-planted:     Cannas       Dahlias       Daylilies       Gladiolus       Iris       Diverse


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ARUBANITA, 1956

Care-free and bright, this happy little dahlia may well remind you of vacationing in sunny Aruba. (It’s named for a popular 1950s dance tune by the composer of Aruba’s national anthem.) It came to us from France where it’s still a great favorite, and we’ve been loving its abundant, classic, ruby-red blossoms in our trial garden and bouquets. 4-5” 4-5 feet tall, from Oregon. Last offered in 2006. We may offer it again someday.


ATROPURPUREA, 1789

In the beginning, there was Dahlia atropurpurea. With lacy foliage and profuse, single flowers, it’s the dark maroon form of D. pinnata, one of the first three wild dahlias to reach Europe from Mexico. Although its offspring soon left it in the dust, it’s handsome enough to earn a place in any garden – and will give you a refreshing new perspective on the spectacular diversity of dahlias today. 3”, 4-5’, from Holland. Last offered in 2016. We hope to offer it again someday.


BETTY ANNE, 1928

This lovely, 79-year-old pompon is an old-fashioned, old-rose pink, a “colonial” pastel that would have been oh-so stylish in 1930s cottage gardens. Try it paired with white Japanese anemones and purple New England asters — lovely! 1-2” 3-4’, from Oregon. Last offered in spring 2008. Available elsewhere.


BLOODSTONE, 1939

Named for an ancient gemstone famed for its medicinal and magic powers (learn more), this knockout blooms more profusely than any dahlia we’ve ever grown, with small, elegant flowers of dark, luminous red set against deep green leaves. Photos can only hint at its excellence – prepare to be wowed! 3”, 4-6’, heat-tolerant. Last offered in 2016. We are increasing stock and we hope to offer it again someday. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


BLUE DANUBE, 1948

It’s not really blue, of course, but this intriguing dahlia is bluer than virtually any other. It’s a distinct, pearly, not-quite-lilac shade that has an almost unearthly glow about it in the soft light of early evening — perfect for enjoying as you relax at the end of a long hard day. Aka ‘Bonny Blue’, re-introduced from the UK National Collection, 3-4”, 4-5’, grown for us in Oregon. Last offered in 2013 and we’re not planning to offer it again. Sorry!


GIRAFFE, 1940

‘Giraffe’ is not just weird, it’s wonderful. Its unruly, golden petals twist and fold forward to reveal back sides barred with bronze. Some see giraffes, others orchids or ocelots, but everyone agrees it’s not like any other dahlia — and very cool. Cut a few for a vase so you can enjoy its rich complexity up close. 4” 3-4’, from Oregon. Last offered in 2009. Though ‘Giraffe’ is a very interesting flower, it’s not a strong grower and we don’t plan to offer it again.


HOCKLEY MAROON, 1935

The dark, velvety petals of this sophisticated little dahlia curl back to form an almost perfect globe, like a shimmering drop of sherry. Long-lasting in both the garden and bouquets, it’s stunning with our ‘Rubrum’ lilies, blue salvia, and lime-green Nicotiana langsdorfii — or all alone in a simple bud vase. 3-4”, 4’, from Oregon. Last offered in 2013 and we’re not planning to offer it again. Sorry!


KAISER WILHELM, 1881

As seen full-page in Horticulture! This rare souvenir from a lost age is the most antique-looking of all of our dahlias. With neatly curled petals of custard yellow brushed with burgundy, and a green button-eye like an old-fashioned rose, it’s a true Victorian “fancy” dahlia – and one of a mere handful of dahlias that survive from the 10,000 grown in the 19th century. We’re proud to have returned it to American gardens, and we hope you’ll help us preserve it! Learn more. 3”, 4-5’, from Oregon. Last offered in 2018. We may offer it again someday. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


KISMET, 1932

Like sand dunes aglow with the rosy light of dawn, the ethereal color of this stunning dahlia is NOT pink (no matter what our photo suggests), NOT bronze (as the ADS classifies it), but wonderfully, shimmeringly, mysteriously both. It blooms like crazy, too, and its form is perfection. No wonder our staff loves it! 6-8” 4-5’, from Oregon. Last offered in 2007 and we’re not planning to offer it again. Sorry!


KLANKSTAD KERKRADE, 1954

No matter how small your garden is, this compact dahlia with its bouquet-sized poofs of soft, primrose yellow will make you glad you planted it. We love its weird name, too. Klankstad means “Sound City” and Kerkrade is the Dutch town that in 1951 launched what has become the world’s greatest band festival. 3-4”, 3-5’, semi-cactus. Last offered in 2016. We are increasing stock and we hope to offer it again someday. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


LAVENGRO, 1953

This big, romantic dahlia is still winning so many blue ribbons almost 60 years after it was introduced that the ADS rates it a “Cream of the Crop” dahlia. Its unusual name is the title of a wildly popular Victorian travel-adventure about life among the gypsies. (When we tried reading it, we discovered we like the dahlia a lot better.) 6-10”, 4-5’, heat-tolerant. Last offered in 2016. We are increasing stock and we hope to offer it again someday. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


LOIS WALCHER, 1958

From the British National Collection of Dahlias, this big, poofy, flower has purple petals tipped with white, giving it a festive, almost spotted look. And who was ‘Lois Walcher’? Mr. Walcher bred the flower, so: wife? daughter? mother? sister? Definitely someone special! 5’, from Oregon. Last offered in 2004. We may offer it again someday.


MADAME STAPPERS, 1947

Our photos don’t show you the best thing about ‘Madame Simone Stappers’ — it grows as a dense, rounded, all but self-supporting mound about 2½ feet tall that looks more like a small shrub or a peony than a dahlia. With dark-chocolate foliage and radiant blooms, it’s stunning in perennial borders — or try one in a big beautiful pot. 3”, 2½-3’, semi-double. Last offered in 2016 and we’re not planning to offer it again. Sorry!


MATT ARMOUR, 1932

With all the simplicity and charm of ‘Bishop of Llandaff’ and ‘Clair de Lune’, this wildflowery dahlia blooms like crazy — and the bees love it! First grown at Ireland’s romantic Glenveagh Castle, it’s named for the man who served there as head gardener for over 50 years. 2-3” 3-4’, from the UK National Collection and now Oregon. Last offered in 2007. We hope to offer it again someday.


MRS. LE BOUTILLIER, 1934

Big and sensual, that’s ‘Mrs. George le Boutillier’ (pronounce it “Booty-ay,” and don’t laugh). The backs of her lush, deep red petals are elegantly highlighted with gold. Though snooty gardeners may frown, if you give ‘Mrs. B’ a try we bet you’ll be amazed. 6-10”, 4-5’, from Oregon. Last offered in 2013 and we’re not planning to offer it again. Sorry!


NELLIE BROOMHEAD, 1897

When a Japanese dahlia collector offered us this rare jewel, we were thrilled. Much like the old ‘Seven Sisters’ rose, it blooms with flowers ranging from almost white to vibrant rosy lavender. Praised and pictured in Gordon’s 1912 Dahlias, it’s the only one of hundreds in that classic book that still survives – and we have just 50 available this spring! Pompon, 3-4’. Last offered in 2016. We’re building up stock and plan to offer it again sometime in the future. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


NEPOS, 1958

It may not be flashy or ancient, but this sublimely simple waterlily dahlia is one of the most beautiful flowers we’ve ever grown – yes, ever. Bred by the Lombaert brothers of Belgium, it’s a baby-fresh masterpiece of pink, white, and lavender, on a plant that’s not too tall, with wiry stems that practically beg you to cut them for bouquets. 4-6”, 3-4’, heat-tolerant. Last offered in 2015. We’re building up stock and plan to offer it again sometime in the future. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


NUTLEY SUNRISE, 1957

This big, sprawling, high-spirited flower throws its petals out and about as if caught up in an ecstatic dance. Molten gold in the center, its petals are richly shaded with pink, apricot, and orange. Though we rarely offer dahlias this young, our very picky crew gave it a dozen green thumbs-up. 6-8” 4-5’, from Oregon. Last offered in spring 2012. Available elsewhere.


ORANGE PRINCESS, 1942

Perfect for perennial borders, this compact, apricot beauty is so packed with blossoms the whole plant looks like it was arranged by a floral designer. A long-time favorite in France, it grows about three feet tall and blooms exuberantly summer and fall with informal, 3-4 inch cactus flowers of apricot shading to fuzzy golden centers. The more you pick, the more it blooms! From Oregon. Last offered in spring 2006. Available elsewhere.


PARI TAHA SUNRISE, 1957

Hot and bright, this dazzling dahlia is the garden equivalent of those Fourth of July sparklers you loved as a kid. Its petals are exclamation points of brilliant yellow flamed with red. Bred in New Zealand, its Maori name means “cliff’s-edge sunrise.” 4-6” 4’, from Oregon. Last offered in spring 2006. Available elsewhere.


POPULAR GUEST, 1957

Fringed dahlias like this glamorous lavender beauty are called “laciniated” in the US, “fimbriated” in England, but the French say it best: dentelle or lace-work dahlias. They first came into vogue in the ‘50s, and ‘Popular Guest’ – with its echoes of Sputnik lamps and starburst Formica – has a mid-century vibe that’s enduringly cool. 4-6”, 4-5’, from Holland. Last offered in 2016. Available elsewhere.


PRINSES BEATRIX, 1939

Improbably beautiful, ‘Prinses B’ combines unusual colors in dramatic flowers that we get all ga-ga about here. Opening golden-orange tipped white with peachy centers, they mature to pale, pale pink edged with orange-gold. Though it may sound weird, it’s oh-my-gosh lovely. Our photo can only hint at it! 4-5” 4-5’, from Oregon. Last offered in spring 2004. We’ve lost our entire stock but we hope to offer it again someday.


PRINZESSIN IRENE VON PREUSSEN, 1912

We rediscovered ‘Prinzessin Irene’ in Germany and fell in love at first bloom. With a heart of gold and fewer, longer petals than most modern dahlias, it has a serene, languid look that’s charmingly antique. Try it paired with soul-mate ‘Jersey’s Beauty’ – ahhhhh! Formal decorative, 4-5”, 4-5’, from Holland. Last offered in 2016 and we’re not planning to offer it again. Sorry!


PROMISE, 1959

This frilled, award-winning, mid-century classic is a soft pastel yellow that has great carrying power in the garden. It’s also a fine flower for bouquets, where its delicately fringed tips make for an almost sparkling effect. It’s strong growing and floriferous, with 4-5” laciniated flowers on 4-5’ plants, from Holland. Last offered in spring 2013. We hope to offer it again someday.


RADIANCE, 1958

Although soft baby pink when it first opens, this 1950s classic quickly matures into a vivid, vibrant, and vivacious rose-pink highlighted with silver. It somehow manages to combine the sweetness of an 8-year-old girl with the elegance of a night on the town, and it absolutely pops in the garden and bouquets. Cactus, 5-6”, 4-5’, from Holland. Last offered spring 2019. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


RED KAISER WILHELM, 1881?

Glowing like neon, this mutant twin of the great ‘Kaiser Wilhelm’ looks ready for a night of cabaret-hopping. Despite its name, it’s not red but a deep, deep rose on white that’s so vivid it almost buzzes. 3”, 4-5’, from Oregon. Last offered in spring 2013, and we’re not planning to offer it again. Sorry! Our grower may have a few more for us this season.


ROMANCE, 1945

A perfect Valentine’s Day dahlia (if only dahlias bloomed then!), ‘Romance’ has gracefully curving petals of rosy pink tipped with silver and a heart of French vanilla. It’s a great size for bouquets, and exquisite with our ‘Pearl’ double tuberoses. 3-4” 4’, from Oregon. Last offered in 2006. Available elsewhere.


SELLWOOD GLORY, 1951

Dramatic ‘Sellwood Glory’ is an almost black and white ensemble of silvery petals thickly brushed with deep, dark raisin-purple. Though it hails originally from the historic Sellwood neighborhood of Portland, Oregon, it had all but disappeared from US gardens till we reintroduced it from the British National Collection in 2008. (Read its full story here.) Formal decorative, 8-10”, 3-4’, from Oregon. Last offered in 2015. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


SHERWOOD’S PEACH, 1944

Up to a foot across, with ruffled petals of copper, amber, and bronze, ‘Sherwood’s Peach’ may remind you of a mellow, rising, autumn sun. One bloom in a Rookwood bowl on an old oak table is sheer bliss. But caution: this is our latest-blooming dahlia, so you’ll need a long growing season to enjoy it. 4-5’, from Oregon. Last offered in 2009. Available elsewhere.


SURPRISE, 1955

One of our biggest dahlias, summery ‘Surprise’ offers 8-10 inches of informal, incurving, semi-cactus petals of soft, luminous peach, yellow, and rose that almost seem to wriggle in delight. Although a bit of a late bloomer, it’s always worth the wait. 5-6’. Last offered in 2015, and we’re not planning to offer it again. Sorry!


TOMMY KEITH, 1892

This 124-year-old granddaddy is a pompon-like “fancy” dahlia of deep burgundy-red irregularly splashed with bits of white – like a sparkling garnet brooch or maybe a tiny, antique velvet sofa with lacy antimacassars. Reintroduced by us from the British National Collection of Dahlias. 1-2”, 3’, from Ann Arbor. Last offered spring of 2018. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


UNION JACK, 1882

This candy-cane striped dahlia is one of the world’s oldest, according to the late Gerry Weland of the ADS who compiled a database of 50,000 dahlias dating back to the early 1800s. Also known as ‘Star of Denmark’, it’s bright and cheery, with pinwheel-like flowers of red and white. One caveat, though: its stems, like those of its wild ancestors, are lax. 3”, 2-3’, heat-tolerant, from Holland. Last offered in 2015. We’re building up stock and plan to offer it again sometime in the future. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


WHITE CHAMPION, 1941

This classic dinner-plate dahlia isn’t just big — 8 to 10 inches across when well grown — it’s ruggedly handsome, with an ivory center opening into masses of rippling white petals. You might think of it as the muscular, New Jersey-born, football-playing cousin of ‘Prinzessin Irene von Preussen’. Dinner-plates, the most iconic of dahlias, were hugely popular from the 1920s through the 1950s. Semi-cactus/informal dec., 6-10”, 5-6’. Last offered in 2013, and we’re not planning to offer it again. Sorry!


WHITE FAWN, 1942

Like white hydrangeas by a lakeside porch, ‘White Fawn’ is cool and refreshing. If Vita Sackville-West didn’t grow it in her celebrated White Garden at Sissinghurst, she should have! Formal decorative, 3-4”, 3-4’, from Oregon. Last offered in 2013, and we’re not planning to offer it again. Sorry!


WILLO VIOLET, 1937

With unusually small pompon blossoms about the size of those giant gumballs you may have loved as a kid, this grape-purple, Australian-bred classic is “perfectly formed” and “still the best” according to Gareth Rowlands in The Gardeners Guide to Growing Dahlias. 3-4’, from Washington. Last offered in 2006. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


WINSOME, 1940

Winsome? No way! This stunner is as vividly colored as the most brilliant tropical fish. Its palm-sized, waterlily-like flowers are a deep, vibrant rose blending into a center of rich yellow, almost orange, as if the sun itself were throbbing deep inside. It redefines “antique beauty” and will leave you breathless! It’s been a customer favorite, ever since we reintroduced it from the UK National Collection, but unfortunately this year’s supply is very limited — so don’t delay! 4-5”, 4-5’, from New Hampshire. We hope to offer this variety again next spring. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


YELLOW GEM, 1914

Exquisite in its symmetry, this perfect little pompon dahlia seems to have been shaped by a jeweler from Middle Earth. Or maybe it will remind you of your childhood backyard twinkling with lightning bugs. Either way, it’s one of our oldest and rarest dahlias, excellent in bouquets, and a true delight. 1-2” pompons, 3’ tall, from Oregon. Last offered in 2013, and we’re not planning to offer it again. Sorry!


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