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

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, …

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 …