Old House Gardens
From America’s Expert Source for Heirloom Flower Bulbs
Though preservation is our mission, bulbs drop out of our catalog every year.

Sometimes it’s because the harvest was too small. Sometimes it’s because they’re widely available elsewhere and don’t need our help. And sometimes it’s because we’ve lost our only known source due to severe weather (cold, drought, etc.), health problems (a debilitating stroke), or economic woes (small farmers are always at risk).

The good news is that, in time, we’re often able to return these bulbs to our catalog. So here’s a list of many we’ve offered in the past. For an alert the moment they’re available again, subscribe to our free email newsletter. Or to find a similar bulb, try our easy Advanced Bulb Search.

Fall-planted:     Crocus       Daffodils       Hyacinths       Lilies       Peonies       Tulips       Diverse

Spring-planted:     Cannas       Dahlias       Daylilies       Gladiolus       Iris       Diverse

Page 1 of Diverse Spring: Lost Forever?        1
Crinum BRADLEY, 1927
When one of Texas’s most respected nurseries offered us huge bulbs of this classic crinum, we reserved them all! With neat, slender foliage, ‘Bradley’ is small enough to integrate easily into perennial borders. Its fragrant blossoms are a deep rose-pink. 2-3 feet, zones 8a-11b. Last offered in spring 2005. We may offer it again periodically.
Crinum ELLEN BOSANQUET CRINUM, 1930
One of the most famous crinums of all, ‘Ellen Bosanquet’ (say BOEZ-n-kwet) was bred by Florida’s Louis Bosanquet and named for his beloved wife. Its “luminous raspberry” flowers (Organic Gardening, 1950) have a vanilla-like fragrance and bloom from June to fall above mounds of glossy, wavy leaves. A vigorous multiplier, it can take total neglect but blooms best with regular watering and, in the South, a touch of shade. 2-3’, zones 7b-10b(11bWC), from Louisiana. We hope to offer this rarity again soon. For an alert, subscribe to our email newsletter.
Crinum x powellii, POWELLII ALBUM CRINUM, 1930
The powelliis are the cold-hardiest crinums, and ‘Album’ is widely considered the most beautiful form. “It’s a plant of superlative quality,” says expert Scott Ogden, “with tall scapes bearing large umbels of shapely, snowy blooms” from July into early fall, in sun or light shade. 36”, zones 7a-10b(11aWC), from our 70-years-young Louisiana grower. We hope to offer this treasure again for spring 2015 delivery. Please check back in August or sign up for our email newsletter.
Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora, METEORE CROCOSMIA, 1887
“The Luther Burbank of France,” Victor Lemoine introduced many of the 19th century’s most exciting new lilacs, peonies, and glads — and the first named crocosmias. His fiery ‘Météore’ endures, lighting up the late summer garden with a smoldering mix of orange, red, and gold as it has for well over a century. 22-26”, zones 7a-9a(10aWC) or store like glads, from Holland. Unfortunately we lost our grower and haven’t found another who offers authentic stock.
Hippeastrum x johnsonii, ST. JOSEPH’S LILY, 1799
This is the cold-hardiest amaryllis and “the finest... for garden culture,” according to Greg Grant in The Southern Heirloom Garden. It’s also the oldest hybrid amaryllis, bred by British watchmaker Arthur Johnson in 1799, and offered by nurseries in Virginia and California by 1853. With graceful red and white flowers, it’s hardy in zones 7a-11b — or even 6b, says Tulsa’s Russell Studebaker in full-page praise of it in Horticulture magazine. It’s not quite as easy to bloom in pots as the modern monsters, but if we can do it, you can, too! We ship small plants that will bloom the following year. Click here for a cool St. Joe’s lily image from 1920. We hope to offer this rarity again soon. For an alert, subscribe to our email newsletter.
Colocasia esculenta, ELEPHANT EAR, 1739
Back when Victorian taste was celebrating everything exotic, elephant ears were very cool. And their big, heart-shaped leaves look great with plastic flamingos! Give them lots of water and fertilizer in sun to light shade. Hardy in zones 7b-11, they’re great anywhere as annuals or pot plants. 3-5 feet, big Florida bulbs. Last offered in spring 2009. Widely available elsewhere.
Colocasia ‘Fontanesii’, VIOLET-STEM TARO, 1865
Extraordinarystems? You betcha! They’ re TALL – to 8 feet in ideal conditions, to 5 feet in a 10-inch pot on our porch here – and gorgeous, deep maroon-purple, like antique mahogany. Its dark emerald leaves are great, too, and it multiplies by runners! Constant moisture is essential. zones 8a-11b or bring indoors in winter. Vigorous small plantlets, from Florida. Last offered in spring 2007. Available elsewhere.
Colocasia ‘Illustris’, ILLUSTRIS ELEPHANT EAR, 1902
What a knock-out! The heart-shaped leaves of “imperial taro” are a dramatic blackish purple highlighted by apple green veins – like a painting on velvet that’s all-natural and luxurious instead of tacky. Our vigorous small plants will grow to 36 inches or more. Constant moisture is essential (set pot in saucer of water). zones 8a-11b or bring indoors in winter. From Florida. Last offered in spring 2009. Widely available elsewhere.
Page 1 of Diverse Spring: Lost Forever?        1
For our print catalog click here or
send $2.00 to
Old House Gardens
536 Third St., Ann Arbor, MI 48103.
phone: 734-995-1486
fax: 734-995-1687
help@oldhousegardens.com
For our free email newsletter,
“The Friends of Old Bulbs Gazette”
with tips, news, history, &
special offers,
send us an email with
“subscribe” in the subject line to
newsletter@oldhousegardens.com.