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Hyacinths: 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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AMETHYST, 1950

The subtle, intriguingly different color of this 1950s gem isn’t pink or lavender but something beautifully in-between. Unusual colors have little place in the mass market, though, and its acreage has been plummeting. To help, just grow it! Zones 5a-8a(10bWC). 5a-8a(10bWC) Last offered in 2007. We lost our grower and haven’t found another who offers authentic stock. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


APPLE BLOSSOM, 1910

Can “obsolete” be a good thing? We think so! Dropped from the International Register in 1954, this “obsolete” beauty is well-named. It’s an ethereal soft pink, paler than ‘Lady Derby’ and brimming with the dawning light of spring. Alan Shipp of the UK National Collection dates it to the early 1900s, but its history is obscure and if you find it in any old books or catalogs, we’d love to hear from you. Zones 5a-8a(10bWC), from England. Last offered in 2006. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


BLUE DIAMOND, 1920

After the fall of the Iron Curtain, a few bulbs of this horticultural refugee came to the UK National Collection from a beleaguered public garden in Lithuania, a garden that despite all sorts of difficulties had managed to preserve a remarkable collection of antique hyacinths. Tough and vigorous, it sports blue-purple petals that are deeper in the center shading to almost silver at the edges. Russian records date it to 1920. Zones 5a-8a(10bWC), from England. Last offered in 2006. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


DISTINCTION, 1880

One of our all-time favorite hyacinths, ‘Distinction’ has dark maroon, “beet-root” blossoms that are stunning amid spring’s pastels. Its small size — about half that of most hyacinths — reflects its age and makes it especially well-suited for forcing. 8-10”, zones 5a-8a(10bWC), from Holland. We were heart-broken when this unique hyacinth suddenly went “commercially extinct” in 1999, and we long for the day when the small supply being nurtured for us by Alan Shipp of the UK National Collection is ready for sale.


GIGANTEA, 1859

Extinct? That’s what the experts thought. But then Alan Shipp of the UK National Collection got a surprise phone call from the Lithuanian ambassador’s wife and before long a box full of old hyacinths arrived that had been preserved by a botanic garden behind the Iron Curtain, including this Victorian beauty. With a “large truss of delicate rose,” ‘Gigantea’ — which no longer seems very giant — was the most expensive single hyacinth in the 1870 catalog of the Olm Brothers of Springfield, MA. Zones 5a-7b(9bWC), from England. Last offered in 2016. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


LADY DERBY, 1875

This soft, apple-blossom pink mingles happily with everything in the garden, and it’s so easy to force that we think everyone should try it. Our impossibly easy, paper-bag-in-the-fridge instructions will show you how. 10-12”, zones 5a-8a(10bWC), from Holland. Last offered in 2018. This has gone commercially extinct.


LORD BALFOUR, 1883

One of our all-time favorite hyacinths, ‘Lord Balfour’ is an unusual, old-fashioned color that’s hard to describe but easy to love. It’s officially “wine-colored violet,” but we’d call it ‘old rose shading to silver” or maybe ‘raspberries at twilight touched with frost.” We were heart-broken when it went commercially extinct in 1999, but thanks to Alan Shipp of the UK National Collection it’s back! Exceptionally rare, zones 5a-7b(9bWC). Last offered in 2013. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


MARCONI, 1900

Midway between soft pink ‘Lady Derby’ and intense ‘Vuurbaak’ is this rosy mid-pink hyacinth that’s been a favorite since the days of Marconi’s amazing new “wireless telegraphy.” 10-12”, zones 5a-8a(10bWC), from Holland. Last offered in 2007. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


ORANJE BOVEN, 1870

This Victorian jewel went “commercially extinct” years ago, but Alan Shipp of the UK National Collection has been nurturing it for us, and for the first time since 2010 we once again have a handful of bulbs to offer. Its name translates as “Orange Above All,” a nod to Holland’s royal House of Orange and part of a traditional Dutch cheer that ends with “long live the Queen!” Rosier than ‘Gipsy Queen’, it’s especially beautiful combined with purple hyacinths. 10-12”, zones 5a-7b(9bWC), from England. Last offered in 2013. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


PRINSES MARIA CHRISTINA, 1948

Last offered in 2004 when it went “commercially extinct” in the Netherlands, this pastel princess has been nurtured for us since then by Alan Shipp of the UK National Collection. Although we sell a ton of ‘Gipsy Queen’ every year, the ‘Prinses’ is even prettier — a unique mix of peaches and honey, ripe apricots with a shimmer of gold. 10-12”, zones 5a-8a(10bWC), from England. Last offered in 2013. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


PRINS HENDRIK, 1910

Last offered in 2004 when the last Dutch farmer quit growing it, this charming little prince is finally available again thanks to Alan Shipp of the National Collection of Hyacinths. Smaller and more buttery yellow than ‘City of Haarlem’, it glows warmly and smells lovely. Very limited supply, 8-10” Zones 5a-8a(10bWC), from England. Last offered in 2013. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


SNOW WHITE, 1950

Fairy or multiflora hyacinths were developed in the 1940s by crossing Roman hyacinths with traditional hyacinths to yield something in between: varieties like ‘Snow White’ that bloom with multiple stalks of informal, loosely-arranged flowers. Like Romans, they bloom earlier (making them popular for Christmas forcing), multiply vigorously, and look utterly natural in the garden. Early spring blooming, 10-12”, zones 5b-8a(9aWC), 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.


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