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

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 …

Mahonia oiwakensis

On Shy Days, A Generous Gift

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A Season of Giving

It remains a pity that so many of the treasures found in our collection at Heronswood come into their finest after the garden has closed for the year. Of those that shine brightest in mid-November through …

Haunted Heronswood

Haunted Heronswood

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Haunted Heronswood is here at last! Our gardeners have conspired with the weather and the plants to create the perfect Halloween outing for you and your family. Come see the Heronswood you know and love transformed into a spooky version …

Parting Shots of Autumn Color

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Going Out with a Flash (of Fothergilla)

The days have shortened and the skies have darkened. Yet for many, the finest moments of the gardening calendar are upon us. The garden at Heronswood is downright punchy with brilliant autumn color, …

Nerine bowdenii

Pretty in Pink

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We tend to think of spring as a time for flowering bulbs. Perhaps that’s because sunny yellow daffodils bring to mind the warm weather ahead of us? From a bulb’s perspective, spring is a good time to bloom as it’s …

The spiny charms of the genus Colletia

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Life can be prickly. Bloom anyway.

The genus Colletia can really get under your skin. Literally. A small genus of small trees or large shrubs hailing from the southern Andes, the 16 or so species are not known to possess …

Rostrinucula dependens

I don’t grow Buddleja

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What attracts you to a plant? Beautiful flowers, pungent aromas, pleasing habit? For me, it’s novelty and weeping buddleja certainly has that. With silver-backed foliage and flaky bark, it resembles its namesake Buddleja davidii, but the flowers are presented …

Cyclamen Season Commences

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The Most Beautiful Cyclamen (Ever)

As the days shorten and the first rains appear, one of the more magical moments of the autumnal garden awakens from our woodland floor. The first of the hardy Cyclamen begin to present their beguiling, …

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 …