• Field Notes Blog from Garden Director Dan Hinkley
    & Assistant Director Ross Bayton

Smoke and the Art of Phototropism

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Two weeks ago, while entering Heronswood, I noted to myself how early the autumn color had arrived, particularly so in our big-leaf maples, Acer macrophyllum, along 288th St. This is a tree species whose autumn color intensity can vary …


Novel Plants for Novel Times

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What a year this has been!

Events in the world outside rarely penetrate the tranquility of this garden, but 2020 hasn’t played by the usual rule book. While this year’s plague of slugs and snails has been devastating in the …

Brilliant biennial blooms but briefly

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Almost all the plants at Heronswood are perennials

Not herbaceous perennials, but perennials nevertheless. Woody trees, shrubs and vines are perennial, because they live for multiple years but when we hear the word “perennial”, we tend to think herbaceous. Herbaceous …

Eucryphia glutinosa

Here Comes Eucryphias

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The Genus Eucryphia

I have related the story so many times to so many people that I will assume you have already heard it before. But precisely when has that stopped me from telling it again? In the summer of …

Hankering for Holidays

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Vacation season is upon us and yet the usual exodus is largely on hold this year. As much as I love Kitsap County, I’m becoming increasingly frustrated by my inability to drop everything and fly to some faraway place. Of …

Phormium tenax

Flocks and Flax

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The Remarkable Foliage and Flowers of the Genus Phormium

Although gardeners of the Pacific Northwest have long considered New Zealand Flax to be indispensable in adding an exclamative lift to any landscape composition, there is, as there are with many …

Hostile Takeover

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For many gardeners, an important principle is ‘year-round color’. We strive to ensure that there are flowers, fruits or fancy foliage to view and enjoy for twelve months of the year. At Heronswood, one of our most popular approaches is …

Horse Chestnut

Onwards and Upwards; Horse Chestnuts

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When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, and Heronswood has been learning to love lemonade. We’ve had some difficult months with greatly reduced staff and few or our excellent volunteers on hand. With the garden closed, we’ve also missed …

Insignis and in Health

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From the Mountains of Vietnam to Kitsap Peninsula

The mild climate of the maritime Pacific Northwest provides ideal growing conditions for a significant assemblage of species in the genus Magnolia. Heronswood Garden boasts a respectable- and growing- collection, both deciduous …

Local Talent

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At Heronswood, we tend to look toward distant horizons. Our plant collections contain exciting species from around the world, Tasmania to Turkey, Myanmar to Mexico, Chile to China. And yet, the Pacific Northwest, and Washington State in particular, has much …

Warp and Weave

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Troubling the Star

It seems at times, as of lately, that some terrible mistake has occurred in the laboratory and a mixture of chemicals never intended to meet have met. There is a general roil to simply living at the …

Paris quadrifolia


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The word “quarantine” has been around for centuries, but now joins our current lexicon of coronavirus catchphrases: social distancing, flattening the curve, new normal, PPE, home schooling (should that be hyphenated? Not sure, ask the kids). Its origins trace back …

Keeping It Green

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This week’s wander through Heronswood’s horticultural delights will focus on green flowers and is not, as the title suggests, a homage to a well-known and much respected local nursery. Green flowers have fascinated me since childhood, in part because my …

Seasonal Liturgy

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Rites of Spring

When I was a few years younger, and traveled a great deal more, I spent a considerable amount of my life in Japan. Habitually, for no other reason than familiarity with the rail system and an inexpensive …

Pulsatilla vulgaris


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Seeking the Ideal

How we wish to believe that an ideal exists, the garden of our minds, accurate and precise. It rains at night, just so softly, yet still it soaks the earth. Varmints live off weeds that are rarely …


Pollen; The Agony and the Ecstasy

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The Mystery, Miracle and Misery of Palynologenics

Above all else, know thine enemy. As you sneeze and hack through a cloying cloud of gilded vexation, take a moment to marvel in the science of palynology. The study of pollen has …

Pink Moons and Spring Diversions

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The Garden, at Last, Through the Lens

As we all are quite aware, trying to get from point A to point B and then on to C in a garden during the spring takes herculean efforts. In a span of …