by Ray Allen
It all starts next week. The big trucks are arriving now, direct from the docks where our bulbs have arrived from Holland. This year, the selection is bigger than ever. I'm constantly amazed how the Dutch hybridizers continue adding incredible new daffodils, tulips and more. Bearded Iris roots are shipping right now, and once they're all out the door, the big fall bulb shipping begins, coldest states first. My favorite new tulip is "World Expression", the big red and white one in the photos at left. And the Biltmore daffodil, "Rosy Cloud" which is a powder puff of pink keeps setting records. We have hundreds of choices right now, and they're still all 35% off. But hurry, soon our discount drops to just 20% Off as the September shipping begins.
Do you know the centuries-long history of tulips and daffodils? It's all about how two small insignificant wildflowers were gathered and hybridized into the big beauties we know today. If not, take a look at our article
on the subject. It's a fascinating story.
The antique botanical at left is one of the most famous in the world. It's a page from a German "Florilegium" (That's a big book of flower pictures) named Hortus Eystettensis
, done by Basilius Besler for a Bavarian prince in 1613. The prince loved tulips, and his garden included over 500 different ones. He had his entire flower garden drawn by Besler, and there were only 300 copies made. Today, of course, the originals that survive are priceless. However, prints and posters of the most famous pages, like this one, are available from online poster companies like Art.com.
They are extremely beautiful, framed as pairs or sets.
One of the best copies of the complete original Florilegium is in the British Library, the library arm of the British Museum. Once the property of the English Royal Family, it is one of their great treasures, ranked along with their Gutenberg Bible. To read all about it, click here.
To view a picture of a page in the original, click here.