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A tulip for Mobile? Yes! And it’s hardy and multiplies in Boston and Denver, too! Although many sources offer this petite, charming wildflower, virtually all deliver cheap impostors such as hybrid ‘Lady Jane’ (oversized, and empty inside) or modern cream-to-yellow forms instead of the ancient rose and WHITE with its heart of deep, ravishing purple. Bill Finch of the Mobile Press-Register writes that in his garden our true clusiana has “come bursting out of the ground, each year better than the last.” It can do the same for you, in zones 6a-8b(10bWC), if you give it well-drained soil that’s relatively dry in summer. 10-14”, from Holland. Chart and care.
The best red tulip ever? Could be! It’s definitely the only tulip this old that’s still widely grown today. Generations have prized its rich color – red with a plum blush – and its fine habit – sturdy, weather-proof, and enduring. Isn’t it time you tried it? Triumph, 12”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Chart, care, and learn more.
How about a tulip that’s immortal? Our customers led us to ‘Demeter’, telling us it returned and bloomed in their gardens for a decade or more. A vibrant, very rosy purple, it’s named for Demeter (say Di-MEET-er), the Greek goddess of agriculture and fertility – another good reason to grow it. Triumph, 24”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Chart and care.
If we had to choose a dozen landmark varieties to summarize the whole amazing history of tulips, this 400-year-old miniature would be one of them. Just 6 inches tall and extra early blooming, ‘Red and Yellow’ is the grandaddy of the ‘Duc van Tols’, a fabled clan of pixie tulips once grown in every garden and forced in pots for Christmas bloom. In front of purple hyacinths, its tiny flames are stunning. 6”, zones 4b-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus Bulborum. Chart and care.
Here’s a vanilla that’s far from plain – and deliciously fragrant! An ancestor of today’s lily-flowered tulips, it’s a Devon-cream colored, vase-shaped beauty with long slender petals that twist and reflex gently for an almost whirling effect. Aka ‘White Crown’, Cottage/Lily-flowered, 16”, zones 4a-7b(8bWC) from the Hortus Bulborum. See our other unusually fragrant tulips. Chart and care.
With its almost savage beauty, this bright, dagger-petaled tulip was listed as a wild species in 19th-century catalogs. It’s never been found in the wild, though, and may be a survivor from the early 1700s when tulips much like it (and T. acuminata) ruled in the lavish gardens of the Ottoman Empire. Whatever its origins, it’s spectacular! Lily-flowered, 16”, zones 4b-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus Bulborum. Chart and care.
“Like raspberry-ripple ice cream,” says Anna Pavord in The Tulip, and “one of the best.” It’s also one of the most dramatic of modern parrots, with a whirling-dervish intensity that rivals that of much older parrots such as ‘Amiral de Constantinople’. Our founder Scott first grew ‘Estella’ 35 years ago, and he says “the outrageous beauty of its first blooms still blazes in my memory.” Aka ‘Gay Presto’, parrot, 18-20”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Chart and care.
This violet-scented wildflower has small, yellow, almond-shaped flowers that nod in bud and then open wide in the sun. Gerard pictured it in his great Herbal of 1597, Jefferson grew it at Monticello, and it’s naturalized almost like a weed throughout Pennsylvania Dutch country – and our garden. Aka T. florentina, 8-14”, zones 5a-8a(8bWC), from Holland. See our other unusually fragrant tulips. Chart, care, and learn more.
This award-winning classic gets rosier and more vibrant every day, and its thick petals make it long-lasting in bloom, so you get more beauty from every bulb. It looks especially good mingled with whites and purples – a tip from English garden maven Rosemary Verey. Triumph, 16-18”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Chart and care.
Richly fragrant and long-lived, ‘Generaal de Wet’ is a worthy scion of the legendary ‘Prince of Austria’. Although orange may not be traditional or expected in the spring garden, try a few bulbs of ‘De Wet’ and we think you’ll agree that its sunny, fresh, juicy tones look right at home there. Pair it with dark purple johnny-jump-ups outside and in a vase where you can enjoy its fragrance up close. Ahhhh! Single Early, 14”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. See our other unusually fragrant tulips. Chart, care, and learn more.