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Tulips: Lost Forever?

From America’s Expert Source for Heirloom Flower Bulbs
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Page 9 of Tulips: Lost?
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THEEROOS, 1890

The fragrance of “TAY-rohs” shouldn’t have surprised us since its Dutch name means “tea rose,” but give it a sniff and we bet you’ll be surprised at how great it smells, too. And it’s a treat for the eyes — opening pale primrose faintly misted with pink, it gets rosier and more richly speckled every day. Double Early, 12”, 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.


THOMAS MORUS, 1820

This very rare, sweetly scented tulip is an intriguing, rusty color that catalogs over the years have struggled to describe: “nankeen-orange,” “terra-cotta shaded gold,” “orange shaded with buff,” even “light brown.” It was offered by New York’s Linnaean Botanic Garden nursery in 1830, and nearly a century later it was a “special favorite” of garden diva Louise Beebe Wilder. Its name honors the Renaissance statesman, author of Utopia, and saint beheaded for opposing Henry VIII. Single Early, 12-14”, 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.


TOURNESOL RED AND YELLOW, 1769

This voluptuous, nearly 250-year-old double tulip has billowing red petals edged with a mellow, butterscotch yellow, making it colorful enough for Victorian carpet-bedding yet lovely enough that it was once a leading cut-flower at London’s stylish Covent Garden market. Today it’s exceptionally rare, and we’re thrilled to be able to offer it! Double Early, 10-12”, zones 4a-7a(8bWC), from the Hortus Bulborum. Last offered in 2016. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


URSA MINOR, 1929

Named for the “Little Bear” constellation, this bright, early tulip is deep yellow with an impossibly thin, all but invisible outline of red, as if the edges were glowing from inner heat. Tulips are grown on more than 26,000 acres in the Netherlands, but this endangered gem accounts for little more than one thousandth of one percent of the total crop. Single Early, 12”, zones 4a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Last offered in 2002. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


VULCAN, 1913

Named for the Roman god of fire, volcanoes, and metalworking, this ruddy bronze and copper-colored tulip is one of the last surviving Dutch Breeders, a group of tulips in unusual “art shades” that were the height of fashion during the Arts and Crafts era. In the words of that illustrious half-Vulcan Mr. Spock, may it “live long and prosper!” Dutch Breeder/Single Late, 20-24”, 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.


VUURVLAM, 1897

If red tulips bore you, try this radiant beauty from the Hortus. What sets it apart is its antique form. In the morning its pointed, tightly-clasped petals give it a flame-like look (in Dutch its name means “fire-flame”) and then later as the day warms up they curl gracefully open. Although popular in formal Victorian pattern-bedding, to our eye it has the purity and grace of a wildflower. Single Early, 10-12”, zones 4a-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus Bulborum. Last offered in 2016. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


WAPEN VAN LEIDEN, 1760

Did Benjamin Franklin grow this legendary tulip? He could have! Its lively rose and white petals are illuminated by a broad yellow flare at the base, and its antique shape echoes the pointed-petaled tulips of Elizabethan herbals. Wapen means “coat of arms,’ and it was to Leiden in the late 1500s that Clusius brought the first tulips ever grown in Holland. Single Early, 12-14”, 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.


WEST POINT, 1943

Recalling both jesters’ caps and the first Turkish tulips that came to Europe in the 1500s, ‘West Point’ has narrow, pointed petals that curve back gracefully and dramatically. That and its many other good qualities led the RHS in 1995 to honor it with an Award of Garden Merit as a plant that should be in every garden (yes, including yours!). Lily-flowered, 20”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Last offered in 2008. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


WILDHOF, 1953

Although we’re still mourning the loss of ‘Alabaster’ and ‘Diana’; (both commercially extinct, though counterfeits are rife), when this sparkling white, mid-season, mid-century RHS Award of Garden Merit winner blooms here, we feel a lot better. Triumph, 18-22”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Last offered in 2014. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


YELLOW PRINCE, 1750

Mozart, William Blake, and Betsy Ross all could have grown this 18th-century treasure, and now you can, too! Its sweet fragrance is just one of its many virtues. As late as the 1920s it was still being forced in “enormous numbers” because “the flower lasts a long time and retains its splendid form and perfect color” (LaPark catalog, 1922). Its cheery yellow is often misted with bronze, “giving it an old-gold effect.” Aka ‘Gele Prins’, Single Early, 9-12”, zones 4a-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.


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