This Week's Podcast: 20 Years of Offering Heirloom Bulbs with Scott Kunst
Click on the small black arrow on the bar to listen, or the MP3 to download the show:Scott Kunst, the landscape historian and founder of Old House Gardens, tells us that “It all started with the ‘Prince of Austria’” (right), a red-orange tulip from 1860. Unlike so many modern tulips, this heirloom is both perennial and fragrant. When the last North American source dropped the bulb from their catalog, Scott thought that someone should be keeping the best of the old bulbs available, and so, he started his mail order business with a six-page catalog copied at Kinko’s on three sheets of paper and mailed to 500 people. It worked, and 20 years later, the catalog recognized by its antique covers, grows every year.
Most suppliers get their products from the Netherlands, and many of the bulbs sold through Old House Gardens do as well. But Scott always wanted to try and grow locally. After years of fruitlessly searching for a small farm that was affordable in the Ann Arbor area, the idea was looked at in a different way. “We decided to turn under-used land in the center of Ann Arbor into micro-farms for heirloom bulbs.” Four plots within a few blocks of the office had their soil improved and planted with bulbs in 2010, and the hope is for many more.
Learn more about the old bulbs – tulips, daffodils, lilies and others to plant now, and spring-planted ones like dahlias and gladiolas at www.oldhousegardens.com.