GRACE DARLING, 1910        
‘Grace Darling’ is named for the brave young daughter of a lighthouse keeper who rowed out with him in a raging storm to rescue shipwreck survivors. Her story captured the imagination of the Victorian age and before long people everywhere were singing songs and hanging lithographs of Grace on their parlor walls. Her namesake hyacinth is a lovely blue-purple, soft but vibrant (how fitting!). Though its date of introduction is unclear, Alan Shipp of the UK National Collection assures us it is “very old.” Zones 5-7S/9WC, from England. Last offered in 2009. We may offer it again periodically, or we could special order it for you.
GRAND BLANCHE IMPERIALE, 1798        
Although far from showy, this is the oldest traditional hyacinth available today. Sold in the US by 1830, it was praised in 1894 for its “large thick bells” of “charming rosy or blush white.” By the 1950s it was thought to be extinct but it survived in a small botanic garden in Lithuania, and after the fall of the Iron Curtain a few bulbs made their way to Alan Shipp at the UK National Collection – and eventually here. 10-12”, zones 5a-7b(9bWC), from England. After a “disastrous” spring, Alan Shipp expects to have very few hyacinths for us this fall. Although we may be able to offer ‘Grand Blanche Imperiale’, we won’t know for sure until August or September. For an alert, sign up for our email newsletter.
GRAND MONARQUE, 1863        
The embodiment of spring’s silvery blue skies, this heavenly hyacinth is old enough to have been grown by Florence Nightingale and Charles Dickens. 10-12”, zones 5a-8a(10bWC), from our English friend Alan Shipp, the Noah of hyacinths. After a “disastrous” spring, Alan Shipp expects to have very few hyacinths for us this fall. Although we may be able to offer ‘Grand Monarque’, we won’t know for sure until August or September. For an alert, sign up for our email newsletter.
double HOLLYHOCK, 1936        
Small and cute, with double, pug-faced florets of vivid rose, ‘Hollyhock’ is unmistakably antique. Always last to bloom, it extends the fragrant season. 8-10”, zones 5a-8a(10bWC), from Holland. Last offered in 2014. The last Dutch farmer who grows ‘Hollyhock’ is holding back virtually his entire stock this year to increase it. We hope to be able to offer it again in 2016. Please check back or subscribe to our email newsletter for an alert.
KING OF THE BLUES, 1863        
Although most hyacinths today are a bit stout, this fabulous ‘King’ retains the narrow, pillar-like shape that was the norm long ago. Its amazing color, though, is what has preserved it – a deep, rich, dark purple that’s as satisfying as the darkest chocolate. 10-12”, zones 5a-8a(10bWC), from the UK National Collection. After a “disastrous” spring, Alan Shipp expects to have very few hyacinths for us this fall. Although we may be able to offer ‘King of the Blues’, we won’t know for sure until August or September. For an alert, sign up for our email newsletter.
L’INNOCENCE, 1863        
A favorite for almost 150 years, this warm white is one of the most perennial hyacinths in our garden and extra easy to force. Our impossibly easy, paper-bag-in-the-fridge instructions will show you how. 10-12”, zones 5-8aS/10WC, from Holland. Last offered in 2012. Sadly, after 149 years, ‘L’Innocence’ is now “commercially extinct.” Although bulbs by this name may be offered elsewhere, all are counterfeits.
LORD BALFOUR, 1883        
One of our all-time favorite hyacinths, ‘Lord Balfour’ is an unusual, old-fashioned color that’s hard to describe but easy to love. It’s officially “wine-colored violet,” but we’d call it ‘old rose shading to silver” or maybe ‘raspberries at twilight touched with frost.” We were heart-broken when it went commercially extinct in 1999, but thanks to Alan Shipp of the UK National Collection it’s back! Exceptionally rare, zones 5a-7b(9bWC). Last offered in 2013. We’ll offer it again as soon as Alan Shipp builds up stock. For an alert, subscribe to our email newsletter.
MARCONI, 1900        
Midway between soft pink ‘Lady Derby’ and intense ‘Vuurbaak’ is this rosy mid-pink hyacinth that’s been a favorite since the days of Marconi’s amazing new “wireless telegraphy.” 10-12”, zones 5-8aS/10WC, from Holland. Last offered in 2007. Widely available elsewhere.
MENELIK, 1911        
Black is beautiful, and this astonishing hyacinth – named in honor of the Victorian king of Ethiopia – is an intense indigo-purple shading to absolute BLACK. Although it went commercially extinct in Holland in 2001, most years we get a handful of bulbs from Alan Shipp of the UK National Collection. 10-12”, zones 5a-7b(9bWC), from England. After a “disastrous” spring, Alan Shipp expects to have very few hyacinths for us this fall. Although we may be able to offer ‘Menelik’, we won’t know for sure until August or September. For an alert, sign up for our email newsletter.
MULBERRY ROSE, 1946        
The unusual, old-fashioned color of this rare hyacinth sets it apart. It’s a misty puplish-rose, deeper in the center of the petals, paler at the edges, like raspberry ice cream swirled with raspberry sorbet. 8-10”, zones 5a-8a(10bWC), from the UK National Collection of Hyacinths. After a “disastrous” spring, Alan Shipp expects to have very few hyacinths for us this fall. Although we may be able to offer ‘Mulberry Rose’, we won’t know for sure until August or September. For an alert, sign up for our email newsletter.
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