When Dan Hinkley wants a new plant for his garden, he doesn’t head to the local nursery or big box store. He finds his passport, crosses oceans and climbs mountains.
Hinkley is a plant explorer. But he’s never been content to just fill his pockets with seeds and hoard them for his own personal Eden.
In 1987, Hinkley and his partner, Robert Jones, began Heronswood Nursery, near Kingston. The nursery was devoted to introducing rare and unusual plants to North American gardeners. The garden itself, on the few days of the year it was open to the public, became a Mecca-like destination for plant lovers around the world.
Heronswood’s annual catalog read more like an adventure novel than a list of plants. Hinkley and Heronswood became highly influential in the horticultural world.
Heronswood had roughly 7,000 different plants by the time it was sold to W. Atlee Burpee & Company in 2000. After the sale, Hinkley continued plant hunting, writing, speaking and research.
On Thursday Hinkley will present “My Life in Plants: The First 60 Years” at the Wesley Inn as part of the Gig Harbor Garden Tour on Saturday and Sunday.
Hinkley has written for several periodicals including “Martha Stewart Living” and “Fine Gardening.” Two of his books have won the Book of the Year Award from the American Horticultural Society.
Hinkley lives in Indianola overlooking Puget Sound, where he maintains his private garden, called Windcliff.
There are some vines I’m addicted to in the akebia family but they are not akebias. These are holboellias and stauntonias. There are a tremendous number there that would delight the greater horticulture community and beyond if they saw them in their peak. They come from Asia and South America. They are really great vines for us in the Northwest.
Also, there is nothing wrong in bringing in (a professional garden designer or horticulturalist) to consult for an hour. They are generally not that expensive.