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 what he called a “disastrous” spring, Alan Shipp will have NO hyacinths for us in fall 2016. With any luck, though, we should be able to offer this rare treasure again in fall 2017. For an alert, sign up for our newsletter or blog.
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 what he called a “disastrous” spring, Alan Shipp will have NO hyacinths for us in fall 2016. With any luck, though, we should be able to offer this rare treasure again in fall 2017. For an alert, sign up for our newsletter or blog.
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 what he called a “disastrous” spring, Alan Shipp will have NO hyacinths for us in fall 2016. With any luck, though, we should be able to offer this rare treasure again in fall 2017. For an alert, sign up for our newsletter or blog.
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 5a-8a(10bWC), 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 5a-8a(10bWC), 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 what he called a “disastrous” spring, Alan Shipp will have NO hyacinths for us in fall 2016. With any luck, though, we should be able to offer this rare treasure again in fall 2017. For an alert, sign up for our newsletter or blog.
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 what he called a “disastrous” spring, Alan Shipp will have NO hyacinths for us in fall 2016. With any luck, though, we should be able to offer this rare treasure again in fall 2017. For an alert, sign up for our newsletter or blog.
ORANJE BOVEN, 1870        
This Victorian jewel went “commercially extinct” years ago, but Alan Shipp of the UK National Collection has been nurturing it for us, and for the first time since 2010 we once again have a handful of bulbs to offer. Its name translates as “Orange Above All,” a nod to Holland’s royal House of Orange and part of a traditional Dutch cheer that ends with “long live the Queen!” Rosier than ‘Gipsy Queen’, it’s especially beautiful combined with purple hyacinths. 10-12”, zones 5a-8a(10bWC), from England. 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.
PERLE BRILLIANTE, 1895        
A shimmering, silvery blue-purple like antique pewter — or pearls — this Victorian relic was last harvested in the Netherlands in 2000. To preserve it, we sent a boxful of those final bulbs to Alan Shipp, holder of the UK National Collection, and now you can enjoy the happy fruits of our partnership! Learn more. 10-12”, zones 5a-7b(9bWC), from England. After what he called a “disastrous” spring, Alan Shipp will have NO hyacinths for us in fall 2016. With any luck, though, we should be able to offer this rare treasure again in fall 2017. For an alert, sign up for our newsletter or blog.
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