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Tulips: Lost Forever?

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Page 3 of Tulips: Lost?
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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.


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!


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.


DUC VAN TOL SCARLET, 1850

Short, bright, and extra-early, these fairy tulips grew in every stylish garden from about 1600-1900. But when gardeners went crazy for tall, late, pastel tulips, the ‘Ducs’ all but vanished. A perfect little miniature at 5-7 inches tall, ‘Scarlet’ is classic and sublime. Very early, zones 4b-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus. Last offered in 2010. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


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.


Page 3 of Tulips: Lost?
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