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Tulips: Lost Forever?

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Page 4 of Tulips: Lost?
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DUC VAN TOL YELLOW, 1830

This bright, sunny little tulip is deep yellow, and to our eye it’s the most elegantly shaped of all the Ducs. Try it combined with deep purple johnny-jump-ups — spring perfection! 5-7”, zones 4b-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus Bulborum. Last offered in 2004. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


ELECTRA, 1905

True stock! Neither words nor film can quite capture the color of this heart-pounding double. It’s a rose so deep it’s almost red – but not red – an intense purplish-crimson like . . . homemade raspberry jelly? We quit offering ‘Electra’ a decade ago when Dutch stocks became hopelessly confused with a crayola-red impostor, but these bulbs from the Hortus Bulborum are the real deal, and thrilling. Double Early, 12-14”, zones 4b-7a(8aWC), 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.


ELIAS MARTIN, 1956Rarest

With its ruffled, flame-shaped petals of soft peach, yellow, and rose, this enchanting mid-century double looks almost like a pastel spring campfire. It’s named for an 18th-century Swedish artist famed for his romantic landscape paintings, and I bet he would have liked this painterly and romantic tulip. Double Early, 10-12”, zones 4b-7a(8aWC), from the Hortus Bulborum. Last offered in 2018. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


ELSIE ELOFF, 1949

This is not your ordinary yellow tulip! Variously described as “primrose-ivory” and “pale butter yellow,” this ethereal flower glows like moonlight in the garden. It combines beautifully with everything from lilacs to ‘Black Parrot’ to the first blooms of iris season, and if you’re like us, once you’ve tried it you’ll never want to garden without it. Single Late, 26-30”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Last offered in 2017. ‘Elsie Eloff’ seems to be commercially extinct, but we’ll keep searching for it! If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


FANTASY, 1910

One of the most popular and important tulips of the 20th century, this pastel beauty brought parrot tulips back into vogue after they’d been scorned for decades as merely oddities. A sport of the great ‘Clara Butt’, it’s a wonderfully ruffled shell-pink with subtle flickerings of spring green and cream. Although it seemed lost in 2012, it’s back and we’re thrilled to share it with you. Parrot, 20-22”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Last offered in 2015. We lost our grower and haven’t found another who offers authentic stock.


FEU ARDENT, 1906Rarest

“An old friend, entrancing in its rich brownish scarlet tints,” wrote famed plantsman J. Horace McFarland in 1927 of this once highly fashionable tulip. Although first offered about 1906, it was originally one of 400 “breeder” or self-colored tulips in the fabulous collection of Vincent van der Vinne which was sold at auction in 1863. Dutch Breeder/Single Late, 22-24”, zones 4a-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus Bulborum. Last offered in 2018. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


GENERAL NEY, 1837

A bit dazed after looking at row after row of antique tulips, I snapped to attention when ‘General Ney’ caught my eye. It’s decidedly different, a rich dark cordovan – or port? mahogany? – that glows with intensity. Its old-fashioned, globular shape sets it apart, too. Exceptionally rare, it’s named for the inspiring leader that Napolean called “the bravest of the brave.” Dutch Breeder/Single Late, 18-20”, 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.


GERBRAND KIEFT, 1951

This jewel-toned double is named for one of our kind of guys. The founder of Hybrida, an innovative Dutch bulb-house, Kieft was also a tireless advocate for Double Late tulips, preserving and promoting them long after they’d fallen out of fashion. With its broad cups of wine-red and ivory petals, his namesake tulip is a fitting memorial. Double Late, 12-16”, zones 4a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Last offered in 2013. ‘Gerbrand Kieft’ seems to have gone commercially extinct, but we’ll keep searching for it!


GLORIA NIGRORUM, 1837

With wisps and splashes of dark violet on creamy white, “Black Glory” is one of the very oldest surviving Bijbloemen tulips. Also known as ‘Violet Ponceau’ and ‘La Victorieuse’, it was first offered in 1837 by Voorhelm and Schneevogt, a fabled bulbhouse that had catered to wealthy bulb lovers since the 17th century. 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.


GLORIA SOLIS, 1854

A bonfire of “bronze, orange, and crimson” (Vick catalog, 1865), gold-edged ‘Glory of the Sun’ was offered by hundreds of US catalogs from the Linnaean Botanic Garden in 1860 to the mid-1900s. But doubles have fallen so far out of fashion that today they’re the most endangered tulips — a good reason for a big-hearted gardener like you to give one a try? Save the Doubles! 12-14”, zones 4b-7a(8aWC), from the Hortus. Last offered in 2005. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


Page 4 of Tulips: Lost?
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