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

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‚Äôs 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 …

Fall Color

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Fall Foliage and Fruits

This weekend heralds our last open days for 2018 and there’s still lots to see. While asters and dahlias continue to bloom unabated, it’s the vivid colors of fall foliage and fruits that steal the show. …

tricyrtis macranthopsis and maculata

Terrific Toad Lilies

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Toad lilies, warts and all

Amongst the panoply of excellent fall-flowering perennials, toad lilies (Tricyrtis) occupy a special place in my heart. When I first encountered them as a child, I was convinced that the flower buds resembled …

Fabulous Fall Flowers

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A Tale of Two Tubers

Brrrrrr! Chilly mornings are a sure sign that Fall is upon us. While most trees have yet to display their characteristic colors, below their leafy canopies, fall-blooming cyclamen and roscoeas light up the Woodland Garden …

Gladiolus murielae

African Odyssey

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It’s been a long, hot summer. For many gardeners, that’s meant a constant struggle to keep plants watered, but here at Heronswood, our African plants have thrived. As a largely tropical continent, Africa offers little for Pacific Northwest gardens. Agapanthus …

Schizophragma hydrangeoides

Schizophragma and Pileostegia

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Not All Climbing Hydrangeas are Climbing Hydrangeas

The genus of Hydrangea is indeed diverse and comes in a wide array of forms, from small scrambling shrubs to 2.5′ (Hydrangea scandens of Japan), dramatic trees to 35′ (Hydrangea xanthoneura of China) …

Pollination paradise

Pollination Paradise

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Amazing Asters

There’s a bumper crop of blooms at Heronswood right now. From daisies to dahlias, geraniums to gingers, our flower borders are hopping! But while they gladden our hearts, flowers don’t put on this show for our benefit. They …

Hydrangea macrophylla

Hip Hip Hooray for Hydrangeas

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Heronswood Hydrangeas at their Finest

In these dusty days of summer, the heat can feel relentless, so what better way to spend a day than wandering the Woodland Garden at Heronswood. Enjoy dappled shade beneath a canopy of evergreen conifers, …