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Tulips: Lost Forever?

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Page 3 of Tulips: Lost?
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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.


COTTAGE MAID, 1857

Now all but extinct, this sturdy little rose and white tulip was a popular American sweetheart for many, many years. New York City’s J.M. Thorburn offered it as early as 1872, and it continued to be widely catalogued well into the 1930s, a reflection of its charm and excellence. Thanks to the Hortus Bulborum for saving it! Single Early, 10”, zones 4b-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.


COURONNE POURPRE BONTLOF, 1881

Rippling leaves edged with ribbons of gold make a stunning setting for the wine-red blooms of ‘Variegated Purple Crown’. We’ve traced it back as far as Thomas Moore’s 1881 Epitome of Gardening, and in 1889 The Journal of Horticulture called it “quite as handsome as variegated yuccas.” Its French name suggests that it originated in Flanders, a back-country part of the Netherlands famed for its expert gardeners and independent tastes. (Does that sound like you?) Single Early, 10-12”, zones 4a-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus. Last offered in 2011. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


DIANA, 1909

Cool ‘Diana’ (named for the goddess of woodlands, wildlife, and the moon) is an elegant ivory, a favorite color in the stylish new perennial borders of the Arts and Crafts era. In fact, Gertrude Jekyll herself featured drifts of white tulips like ‘Diana’ in many of her dreamy cottage gardens. Single Early, 10-12”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Last offered in 2009. ‘Diana’ is now commercially extinct, alas!


DILLENBURG, 1916Rarest

Fragrant, luscious, and late, ‘Dillenburg’ blooms with the earliest bearded iris, offering one last spring treat to look forward to each year. It’s a sophisticated “art shades” blend of peach brushed with rose and one of the last survivors of a whole class of tulips, the Dutch Breeders, that filled pages of catalogs in the early 1900s. As always our supply is very limited, but at least we have it – and every year we worry that we won’t. Single Late, 26”, zones 3a-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.


DOM PEDRO, 1906Rarest

This “coffee-brown, maroon-shaded” gem is “undoubtedly the most attractive of the brown tulips,” said the John Lewis Childs catalog in 1920 when tulips in so-called art shades such as bronze, terra-cotta, and mauve were the height of fashion. It’s certainly one of our favorites! Dutch Breeder/Single Late, 18-22”, zones 4a-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus Bulborum. See our other brown tulips. Last offered in 2017. We hope to offer this variety again in 2020. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


DUC DE BERLIN, 1854

This rare ‘Duke’ is “deliciously fragrant” (W.N. Craig, 1905), and its bold color pattern — evoking Renaissance pageantry and the shields of heraldry — is one of the most enduringly popular in all of tulip history. In fact, if we assembled gardeners from, say, 1650, 1750, and 1850 and asked them to choose whichever of our tulips they liked best, we’re sure ‘Duc de Berlin’ would rank in their Top Ten. Single Early, 8-10”, zones 4a-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus. Last offered in 2011. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


DUC D’ORANGE, 1829

Although the International Register dates this colorful relic only to “before 1875,” we’ve found it listed in catalogs from 1869 (Vick), 1846 (Carter), 1830 (Prince), and the Hortus Addlestonensis of 1829. With old-fashioned, pointed petals of gold and orange brush-stroked with red, it’s named for the father of Dutch independence, Willem van Oranje. Very limited supply, Single Early, 10-12", zones 4a-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus Bulborum. Last offered in 2013. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


DUCHESSE DE PARMA, 1820

This exceptionally rare tulip is “bronze crimson bordered with orange,” according to the 1889 Rawson catalog. But most gardeners over the past 196 years would have seen it as simply red trimmed with yellow – one of the most popular color combinations in tulips since the very first were brought into Western gardens in the 1500s – and, as the 1865 Vick’s catalog described it, “splendid.” 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.


DUC VAN TOL AURORA, 1700

Tiny red flames ornament this winsome little tulip, spreading and intensifying as it matures. If you can bear to, cut a blossom for inside so you can enjoy the evolving pattern — which is different on every one — up close. It’s one of the fabled Duc van Tols, a group of miniature, extra-early tulips that grew in every stylish garden from about 1600 to 1900 — and now have all but disappeared. 5-7 inches tall, zones 4b-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.


Page 3 of Tulips: Lost?
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