• Field Notes Blog from Garden Director Dan Hinkley,
    Assistant Director Nathan Lamb
    & Taxonomist Ross Bayton.

Duane West planting Carpenteria californica 'Elizabeth' at Heronswood

The Perfect Time to Plant

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Fall is Planting Season

The rain has returned! And with it, an excellent reminder that there is still plenty of time to add new plants to your garden. We’re at the end of another gardening year here in the Pacific …

Hedychium Tara

Flowering Hardy Gingers

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Ginger Zinger

Late summer and many plants have passed their peak, but while other flowers fade, hardy gingers are at their blooming best. Here at Heronswood, Hedychiums are in their prime, with proud spikes of pungently-scented flowers in several hot …

Colchicum and Crocus pulchellus

Autumn Crocuses

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Don’t Get Your Crocus Crossed

Hard to believe I’m saying this in August, but fall is here. Certainly, that’s what some of the plants at Heronwood are saying. While our herbaceous borders are still afire with colourful lilies, dahlias and …

Indigofera pendula

True Blue Indigo

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Some plants have such a long history of use that we can’t rightly say where on this planet they first sprang forth. They have been harvested, cultivated, and distributed by enterprising humans for so many thousands of years that scientists …

Learning From Lilies

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A Wealth of Mid-Summer Lilies

Besides those cheery, early-blooming Lilium martagon, which have already come and gone, we’re entering a peak lily moment this very week at Heronswood. It seems appropriate that we’ve once again passed through a (very …

Cardiandra alternifolia

Hydrangea Kith and Kin

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Heart of the Matter

At Heronswood, we love hydrangeas! From super-rare, wild-collected Hydrangea sikokiana, to common garden mop-heads, we have a fine collection and they’re blooming now. And it’s not just hydrangeas – we grow many other members of …

Cardiocrinum giganteum, the giant lily

Peak Season for Cardiocrinum

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A woodland perennial with four season interest is a rare thing, but species in the genus Cardiocrinum come close. Rosettes of glossy, heart-shaped leaves tease us with promises of skyscraper-like blooms for years. New flowering stalks add a graceful, upright …

Valiant Rodgersias

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Boldness Incarnate for PNW Gardens

Can you even imagine? Only a bit over a century ago, all you need do was sail a boat into a harbor in Asia and your legacy would be cemented into the genus of a …

Libertia Amazing Grace

Amazingly Graceful Libertia

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If you’ve been near the Garden House at Heronswood recently, you’ve no doubt noticed the cloud-like profusion of small white flowers blooming by the front door. This plant stopped me in my tracks when it first opened a few weeks …

Take a Cyp

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Growing up in northern Michigan, a somewhat rare but always exciting encounter would occur each spring while hunting the elusive morel mushroom with our family, when we would stumble upon a patch of one of our native Cypripedium orchids. Three …

True Blue

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Flowers come in almost every color and you’ll find a kaleidoscopic range in bloom at Heronswood this weekend. From pure white trilliums to dark, sultry arisaemas, we have every shade covered. But there’s one color that’s far from common and …

Glaucidium palmatum

A Late Spring Bloomer

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Certain woodland plants help ease our transition out of peak spring ephemeral bloom. Just as we start to miss the Erythronium and Anemone, these stalwarts come into bloom and herald the rest of the season in the flowering understory. …

Corylopsis sinensis var. sinensis

The Spike Hazels

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If we assigned a persona to every genus of plants, that of Corylopsis would be owned, I think, by Audrey Hepburn. Elegant and fair. Strong-willed. Independent. No rough edges.

It is a fully Asian genus of deciduous shrubs or small …

Karma Camellia

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Spring ephemerals are all the rage at Heronswood this weekend. Our woodland borders are bursting with primroses, trilliums, fawn lilies and wood anemones, all jostling with one another to secure their share of available spring sunlight. This super-abundance of spring …

Pseudowintera colorata

Well Connected: Pseudowintera colorata

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One of the most satisfying elements of looking at plants in the wild, as I have done for the past 35 years, is understanding the interconnectedness of the flora of this planet we share. We are often guilty of assuming …

Pulsatilla grandis

Sure Signs of Spring

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At the risk of tempting fate, it seems that spring is here to stay. Temperatures are climbing and the gardens at Heronswood are full of the charming early-bloomers that help us shake off the winter chill. One that always deserves …

Charlotte Bishop

Andean Springstars

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Think for a moment of the sheer number of early spring bulbs we can grow to good effects in our gardens. The genera of Crocus, Cyclamen, Narcissus, Tulipa, Muscari, Scilla and Erythronium are just a few of the major players …

Primula vulgaris

Prim and Proper

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Well that was quite a winter

With warm temperatures expected this weekend, hopefully the last of the snow will melt and the gardening year can begin in earnest. Our plants are certainly ready and none more so than Sibthorp’s primrose …

Paeonia mairei

An Undaunted Woodlander

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Despite the coldest February I can recall at Heronswood, and one of the coldest on record in our region, it is good to remember that there are some plants that simply pay no attention to the discomforts of frigid toes …