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

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It’s not by chance that so many wild tulips are red, or that for centuries red was the most popular color for garden tulips. As every artist knows, red and green are complementary colors so together they look especially vibrant and right. And through some quirk of genetics, red tulips are often more vigorous and enduring than their peers. You’ll get 1 bulb each of 5 brilliant, long-lasting, and very rarely offered Single Early tulips: 1 ‘Cramoisi Brillant’ (1785), 1 ‘Vermilion Brilliant’ (1845), 1 ‘Cardinal’s Hat’ (1860), 1 ‘Artus’ (a.k.a. ‘Garibaldi’, 1860), and 1 ‘Vuurvlaam’ (1897). For zones 5-7S/8WC, from the Hortus. This was a special, one-time-only sampler offered in 2010. Sorry!
GRANDMA’S JEWEL BOX        Sampler
Tulips in old gardens are often a hodgepodge of survivors no garden book would recommend but that always looks cheery and right. This ever-popular sampler honors those time-rich jumbles. You’ll get 15 late-spring jewels: 3 lilac ‘Bleu Aimable’ , 3 primrose ‘Golden Harvest’ , 3 deep purple ‘Greuze’, 3 ruby ‘Kingsblood’, and 3 ivory ‘White Triumphator’ (replacing ‘Dillenburg’ which is a total crop failure this year). For zones 3-7aS/8WC.

For 6, 9, or more of each, order additional samplers. Last offered in 2012 due to shortages of 'Dillenburg' and 'Golden Harvest'. We hope to offer a revised Jewel Box in the future.

TINY DUKES TULIPS        Sampler
From the 1600s through the 1800s, the short, colorful, early-blooming Duc van Tols were universally popular. Today, on the other hand, it’s a rare gardener who’s even heard of them let alone grown one. Here’s your chance to try 5 very rarely offered colors of these all-but-lost pixies: 1 ‘Duc Violet’ (1700); 1 ‘Duc Cochineal’ (crimson, 1700); 1 ‘Duc White’ (1805); 1 ‘Duc Yellow’ (1830); 1 ‘Duc Scarlet’ (1850). 6-8”, zones 5-7, from the Hortus. (For more, see our favorite ‘Rose’ and the original ‘Red and Yellow’.) This was a special, one-time-only sampler offered in 2010. Sorry!
No taller than a crocus and almost as early, this wild tulip is a cheery little flame of spring. When it bloomed in a display of our historic tulips on Park Avenue, it inspired Verlyn Klinkenborg of The New York Times to write a terrific editorial-page column about it. Parent of the whole ‘Duc van Tol’ clan, it’s a good stand-in for colonial ‘Duc van Tol Red and Yellow’ — and wonderful in its own right. 4-6”, zones 4-7, from Holland. Last offered in 2006. We may offer it again periodically, or we could special order it for you.
If you’ve ever lusted after Sissinghurst’s iconic White Garden, here’s a tall, elegant, late-blooming tulip that can bring a touch of that magic place to your own back yard. It’s long lasting in bouquets (combine it with ‘Golden Harvest’ and forget-me-nots for a pastel dream) and it’s fragrant! Darwin/Single Late, 19-21”, zones 3-7S/8WC, from Holland. Last offered in 2012. ‘Alabaster’ seems to be commercially extinct, but we’ll keep searching for it!
Like a bubbling brook or a misty spring morning, ‘Alba Regalis’ is sublimely cool and refreshing. The first reference we can find to it is in the RHS Journal of 1838 where it’s described as having “flowers of good shape, white faintly edged with pale yellow,” and nearly a century later garden writers in the 1920s were still recommending it. Aka ‘Royal White’, Single Early, 12”, zones 4b-7bS/7bW. Last offered web-only in 2008. We may offer it again periodically, or we could special order it for you.
Strong growing and richly colored, this powerful tulip wowed us when it first bloomed here. And when we saw how its flowers lasted and lasted, we liked it even better. Each petal is a blaze of deep rose with lavender undertones shading to soft pink at the edges. The effect is dramatic and full of energy. Darwin/Single Late, 28”, zones 3-7S/8WC, from Holland. Last offered in 2005. We lost our grower and haven’t found another who offers authentic stock.
A piping of butter-cream frosting highlights the wavy leaf-edges of this striking late-Victorian tulip. Imagine a miniature hosta — with dark red flowers! We asked the Hortus for as many bulbs of this treasure as they could spare, and we got 25. Don't delay! Single Early, 10-12”, zones 5a-7b(8WC), from the Hortus Bulborum. We hope to offer this treasure again soon. For an alert, sign up for our email newsletter.
BESSIE, 1847
Through unusually old for an English florists’ tulip, ‘Bessie’ can still “;break” so beautifully that it wins Premier Flame in shows of the Wakefield Society. It’s petitely flowered, with burgundy flames on white petals that reflex charmingly as they mature. Broken, 16”, zones 4b-7a, from the Hortus Bulborum. Last offered in 2007. We hope to offer it again soon. For an alert, sign up for our email newsletter.
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