Reading list

Bulbs – and tulips in particular – have long fascinated historians and novelists. Surprisingly enough, many books have been written not by the Dutch but by American and British authors. It would be impossible to mention them all. However, here are three books that deserve the attention of all who want to know more about these magic flowers. Look at: More books on the history of the tulip. And please, don’t forget our Hortus Bulborum – Treasury of Historical Bulbs.

A monument in paper

The history of the Hortus Bulborum has been described for the first time in this opulently illustrated bi-lingual book – Dutch and English – by writer and publicist Leslie Leijenhorst. He digged into the history of this unique treasure trove of the bulb industry for over a year. Attention is dedicated to all aspects of this more than 75 years botanical reserve of heirloom bulbs.

Overview history 

The book depicts many stories and anecdotes throughout the history. Starting with an overture on how the bulbs came to Holland from the sixteenth century, and than onwards with seven miles steps to arrive at the main subject of the book: the history of 75-year old Hortus Bulborum. Beginning in the early 1920s when headmaster and horticulture teacher Pieter Boschman began to collect ancient tulip and some daffodil hybrids around his schoolmaster’s residence in Limmen village in the province of North Holland, that were no longer of any interest to commercial growers. This village was at the time a leading bulb growers centre.

Leslie Leijenhorst deals with the merger of the tulip collection of founder Pieter Boschman with the historical hyacinth collection of Dr Willem Eduard de Mol, which marks the unofficial birth of the collection, on a plot of nurseries and exporters Van Hof & Blokker of Limmen village, in 1928. Further he describes many memorable moments. From the Wars years till the relocation to the actual site at the Zuidkerkenlaan in the same village, next to the medieval parish church, where it all started. From the development of the bulb collection till the participation in national flower shows like the international horticultural exhibitions such as Floriade. Further, he gives an overview of this unique collection in words and images. It deals with the increasing contacts with the world of science and the growing interest of historical and other heritage gardens in The Netherlands as well as abroad, amongst others Paleis Het Loo in the town of Apeldoorn and the Frederiksborg Castle, north of the Danish capital Copenhagen, for historical bulbs as well as the role of the bulb collection as a second to none pollen bank for the bulb growing sector.


The book can be ordered directly through the website, made by the author and the graphic designers, dedicated to this publication Visit this website also for a virtual preview of this gorgeous book. And further, it goes without saying that it is for sale at the Hortus Bulborum during the opening season.


Several historical museums like Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (also the annex on Schiphol Airport), Frans Halsmuseum (Haarlem) and Stedelijk Museum (Alkmaar), Keukenhof, and leading book shops in the Netherlands, stock the book as well.

International retailers

The network of retailers abroad is gradually expanding. Retailers (only luxury jubilee edition) to date are amongst others:

the bookshops of the RHS,
NHBS Mailorder Bookstore,,


– Tanum,

– Tulpanens Hus
– Hovdala Slott,
– Flora Linnea,
– Hedengrens,
– Akademibokhandel
– Prins Eugen Waldemarsudde,

– Akateeminen
– Villi Niitty,

– Artur Busck

United States:
Old House Gardens
– Heirloom Bulbs,

New York State
– New York Botanical Gardens,
– Brooklyn Botanic Gardens,

– Jane Baldwin – Gerlach