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Tulips: Lost Forever?

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Page 2 of Tulips: Lost?
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BACCHUS BONTLOF, 1890

A piping of butter-cream frosting highlights the wavy leaf-edges of this striking late-Victorian tulip. It may remind you of a miniature hosta – until its brilliant, deep red flowers open. The last time the Hortus offered us any was in 2010, so get it while you can! Single Early, 10-12”, 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.


BEAUTY OF BATH, 1906

“One of the most enchanting of the Cottage tribe,” said the Scheepers catalog in 1929. A true broken tulip, this British beauty opens with “the most lovely flushes and pencilings of pale to deeper yellow and pinkish lavender to rose” and then matures to a lace-like tracery of purple on white. Our friend Betsy Ginsburg was so enchanted she wrote a time-travelling detective story exploring how it got its name. Late, 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.


BESSIE, 1847

Although unusually old for an English florists’ tulip, ‘Bessie’ can still “break” so beautifully that it wins Premier Flame in shows of the Wakefield and North of England Tulip Society. It’s small-flowered, with burgundy flames on white petals that reflex charmingly as they mature. Broken, 16”, 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.


BLUE FLAG, 1750Rarest & Web-Only

The first time this sumptuous, pearly violet, Double Late tulip bloomed, George Washington was still a teenager. Looking a bit like a lavender peony, it’s been favored by connoisseurs ever since, including Anna Pavord who writes in The Tulip that it “holds the record in my own garden for longevity of bloom, standing in good fettle for nearly a month.” 10-12”, zones 4b-7a(8aWC), 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.


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. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


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. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


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. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


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. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


CHRYSOLORA, 1872

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. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


COTTAGE BOY, 1906

This spirited little tulip is a sport of ‘Cottage Maid’, a popular favorite since 1857. It’s bright and cheery but you’ll need to take a closer look to enjoy its full beauty – a painterly combination of orange “shaded carmine red” and yellow “flushed primrose and cream” (Barr and Sons, 1916). We love it when it opens wide in the sun, too. Single Early, 9-10”, 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.


Page 2 of Tulips: Lost?
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