• Field Notes A blog compiling the writings of
    the Heronswood Team

Eucryphia glutinosa

Here Comes Eucryphias

Posted · Add Comment

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

Posted · Add Comment

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 …

Heronswood Biodiversity Audit

Posted · Add Comment

(07.14.20 & 7.21.20)


A spongy forest trail is a fun aspect to feel underfoot while hiking through natural areas of the Pacific Northwest. Sponginess is often a sign that high levels of …

Phormium tenax

Flocks and Flax

Posted · Add Comment

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

Posted · Add Comment

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 …

Heronswood Biodiversity Audit

Posted · Add Comment



Y’know, I’d like a sidekick. Now, I’m not actually thinking of a person who’d just tag along and act as my own shadow, but an entirely different organism. Gardening is often a sweaty task, especially …

Horse Chestnut

Onwards and Upwards; Horse Chestnuts

Posted · Add Comment

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 …

Heronswood Biodiversity Audit

Posted · Add Comment



Days are becoming longer as the solstice approaches, and with additional light, plants are able to grow to their chloroplasts’ content. Long days also bring greater warmth, yet night does eventually come to blanket the …

Insignis and in Health

Posted · Add Comment

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

Posted · Add Comment

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

Posted · Add Comment

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


Posted · Add Comment

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

Posted · Add Comment

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

Posted · Add Comment

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 …

Heronswood Biodiversity Audit

Posted · Add Comment



There is no shortage of plants at Heronswood to appreciate for one reason or another. Luscious camellia flowers bloom from winter into spring, shady beds of full hosta leaves cradle water droplets by summer, and …

Pulsatilla vulgaris


Posted · Add Comment

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 …

Heronswood Biodiversity Audit

Posted · Add Comment



When I reminisce of moments from my childhood, I often return to time spent in the backyard woods of the Midwest, poking around under decomposing logs or flat rocks in a shallow stream bed. Discovering what was …


Pollen; The Agony and the Ecstasy

Posted · Add Comment

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 …

Heronswood Biodiversity Audit

Posted · Add Comment



Art often imitates life, and when it comes to music, we have nature to thank for inspiration of delightful melodies. If the Pacific tree frog of which I waxed poetic in a previous article for …