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Alan Shipp's National Collection of Oriental Hyacinths

Alan Shipp, a retired farmer, holds the world's largest collection of rare hyacinths, having amassed some 260 different varieties since 1993. 'I had small farm that wasn't large enough to be commercially viable.


GAP Photos/Nicola Stocken/ Alan Shipp.

Feature No:   5065 

Qty of Images:    38 


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Pausing at Bottisham Lock on the River Cam on a damp spring day, an unexpected vision appears in the dull Fenland landscape as a small field shines out with a rainbow of 100,000 flowering hyacinths, their scent almost detectable on a westerly wind. This is the collection of Alan Shipp, which spans oriental hyacinths introduced in the nineteenth century up to modern hybrids. ‘Modern hyacinth breeders focus on four main criteria — double flowered, multi-stemmed, shorter and sturdier cultivars for container growing, and longer-stemmed cultivars for cut flowers' he explains.



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