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

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, …

Lilium lankongense

Scented Sentinels of Summer

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Lilies of Summer

The heat is on. Summer is here and all around Heronswood, flowers are doing their thing, producing a dazzling display. While undoubtedly attractive to us, flowers are actually sending a message to pollinating insects and birds. They’re …

Geum Mango Lassi

Geum: Tales from the Old Country

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The Gorgeous Genus of Geum

Geums – I love them! And if you’re uncertain how to pronounce this little Latin name, then split it in two: Gee-Umm.

The genus Geum is a member of the massive rose family (Rosaceae), which …

Illcium anisatum; Beyond the Stars

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Good Foliage Amongst a Richness of Flower

Foliage First.

Far more people are familiar with the genus Ilicium than the nerdy gardener. Authentic cuisine in SE Asia has long relied on sweet, spicy aroma of star anise, the star-shaped seed …

Dactylorhiza with Rhododendron macrosepalum

The Spotted Orchids of Heronswood

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A taste of the tropics

Orchid flowers evoke exotic locations – tropical trees bedecked with these glamorous blooms, standing above palm-lined beaches, a waiter brings a cocktail… While most orchids are indeed native to the tropics, a small number make …


Tales of Geum

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Tales from the Old Country

Geums – I love them! And if you’re uncertain how to pronounce this little Latin name, then split it in two: Gee-Umm. The genus Geum is a member of the massive rose family (Rosaceae), which …

A Dule of Doves

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The Dove Tree; Davidia involucrata

The near mythical Davidia is in full splendor this weekend at Heronswood. Its unique and fanciful floral display always draws commentary by those who see it for the first time. Hailing from the mountains of …

The Primitive Charms of Saruma henryi

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Primitive, yet pretty

Amongst the mass of spring flowers, some less showy perennials are easily overlooked. This is often the case with Asarum, or wild ginger, a genus of evergreen ground cover. Indeed, by calling it ground cover, I’ve …

Rues Rock

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The Rue Anemone; Anemonella thalictroides, or Whatever

First, always first, lets start with the name, shall we? A charming woodlander from much of eastern North America, its true place in the botanical kingdom continues to be in flux. First described …

Magnolia Season Begins

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Flowers before foliage

With Spring’s arrival, the beds and borders at Heronswood are awash with flowers. Carpets of corydalis, stately tufts of trilliums and hordes of hepaticas are an assault on the senses. But take a moment to glance upwards …

Hepatica transsilvanica "Elison Spence"

Hepaticas and More

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The Genus Hepatica

I have certainly said the same before as I am sure I will say the same again. Each year, in mid-March to early April, I note that the Hepaticas have never looked better. As they have now …

Abraham-Isaac and-Jacob

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Trachystemon orientalis

Found naturally occurring in southern Europe and western Eurasia where it has long been eaten as a spring vegetable, this member of the Borage Family (Boraginaceae) is known colloquially as Abraham-Isaac-Jacob. Over the centuries, the same name has …

Symphonic Symphyotrichum

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If I checked my archives, which I seldom do, I would probably see that I gush about Asters every year at about this time. And I have probably used the same adjectives and turns of phrase each time I have. …

The Under-Appreciated Charms of Roscoea

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The beguiling genus of Roscoea is mostly misunderstood, taxonomically misrepresented and entirely too under appreciated in gardens of the Pacific Northwest. Its physiology itself is chocked with anomalies with a floral format appearing to be a dead ringer for that …

Fuchsia magellanica

Fewsha, Fooksia or Fuchsia?

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Despite having his name forever melded to a diverse and horticulturally significant genus of plants as well as an eponymous color that many might equate with cloying, as well as a perpetual tiff over proper pronunciation, Dr. Leonhart Fuchs, a …