Each week in spring, Heronswood Nursery ships five to six thousand plants to customers all over the United States. The nursery's success stems from its reputation as a trusted source of unusual plants, many of which are raised from seeds collected on the owners' forays to Asia and South America. On their property, located in Kingston, Washington, owners Dan Hinkley and Robert Jones have devoted two-and-a-half acres to the nursery itself, two-and-a-half acres to a woodland garden, and two-and-a-half acres to a full-sun garden.
The woodland garden rests under a high canopy of one-hundred- to one-hundred-fifty-foot Douglas firs, a conifer native to the Pacific Northwest. Beneath the firs, Dan and Robert have planted an understory of deciduous and evergreen trees, including many maple species from Asia and Magnolia wilsonii , an unusual magnolia with peony-like flowers. Vines, including wisteria and climbing hydrangea, wind their way up the trunks of the Douglas firs. In a sunnier location in the garden, the vigorous Rosa mulliganii climbs nearly fifty feet up the trunk of a western red cedar.
A large collection of hellebores blooms in the woodland garden throughout the winter, followed by trilliums, Pulmonaria, Erythronium, Corydalis, Lathyrus, Dicentra, Polygonatum, Disporum, and Smilacina. Summer brings woodland asters, blue Himalayan poppies, and giant lily (Cardiocrinum giganteum), which grows nearly fifteen feet high. In fall, cyclamen and autumn crocus (Colchicum) predominate.
Dan also has an extensive collection of Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema) -- a plant known for its striking, sometimes colorful cupped spathes and long, slender spadices. Arisaema griffithii, which is native to the Himalayas, has large purple spathes with prominent veins.
A blue-and-yellow border marks the transition between the woodland and full-sun gardens at Heronswood; the full-sun gardens contain the formal perennial borders and an arbor with a large contingent of vines, including clematis, honeysuckle, and 'Paul's Himalayan Musk' rose. A fountain brings sound and a sense of movement to this area of the garden throughout the year.
Learn more about Heronswood Nursery.