The Hortus Bulborum, established in 1928
Treasury of historical bulbs
The Hortus Bulborum is the only museum garden in the world where you can find over 4,000 different tulip, hyacinth, daffodil and other bulbous cultivars, species and varieties in bloom. Nowhere on this globe you will find such a fine selection of old bulbs in one place. Every spring the Hortus transforms into a treasure trove full of dazzling colours, beautiful shapes and overwhelming fragrances at the foot of the picturesque, parish church in Limmen village, near the historic city of Alkmaar.
The collection boasts tulips dating from 1595, the famous ‘Duc van Tol Red and Yellow’; the oldest known cultivar and dozens of other cultivars which were prizes possession as far as back as the Golden Age. But also 17th century daffodils. The most antique daffodils are said to come from around 1601, like ‘Double Campernelle’ and ‘Albus Plenus Odoratus’. Though the Narcissus pseudonarcissus, also known as the 'Lent Lilly', was already found in English gardens in the 1200s. While the oldest fritillary was already described for the first time in 1577, Fritillaria imperialis ‘Prolifera’. And what to think of fragrant double-flowered hyacinths from the 1800s and crocuses.
Fundamental in this garden, however, is the preservation of heirloom bulbs. Many of them have no commercial value for modern mass production whatsoever. The aim is to maintain these cultivars and safeguard them for the future generations. The preservation work of the Hortus Bulborum goes hand in hand with the work of the professional growers to obtain better cultivars for today’s needs. The collection is a second to none pollen bank in the world to the bulb growing sector.
The current collection contains over 2,600 cultivars of tulips (species and varieties), some 130 hyacinths, around 1,100 daffodils, some 110 crocuses and a few dozen of fritillaries.
The Hortus Bulborum is worth a visit, especially for garden lovers and all those who love rare, heirloom and florist bulbs.