The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 3: European Gardens (500AD-1850)

Florimanists in Holland

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183. The florimanists, Bose observes, were much more numerous towards the middle of the lost century than in 1809. �One does not now hear,� he says, �of 20, 000 francs being given for a tulip; of a florist depriving himself of his food, in order to increase the number and variety of his anemones, or passing entire days in admiring the colours of a ranunculus, the grandeur of a hyacinth, or trembling lest the breath of an overcurious admirer should hurt the bloom of an auricula.� The general price of choice bulbs, it is observed in Neill's Horticultural Tour, varied in 1817 from three to ten guilders (a guilder is about 1s. 8d.); a few kinds were valued at from ten to twenty guilders; and the most select, new, and consequently rare, varieties, seldom fetched more than from twenty to fifty guilders. Among the most precious tulips in 1817, were the Universal Conqueror, Pompe Funebre, and Charbonnier Noir, with yellow grounds; Louis XVI. and Toilette Superieure, with white grounds; and the price of them was one hundred guilders (8l. 2s. 6d.) a bulb. (Neill's Hort, Tour, p. 195.) It is curious to contrast even these prices with those produced at the sale of Mr. Thackeray's tulips in 1846, when many �really fine show flowers averaged not more than 2s. 6d. a bulb.� (Gard. Chron. 1846, p. 375.) Among the finest tulips grown in 1848, may be named Polyphemus, Shakespeare, the Queen, Sir H. Pottingcr, Lady Sale, and Grace Darling; the latter two generally selling for three or four guineas a bulb.