Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Friday, May 19, 2017

My Mother's Day Weekend Trip to Heronswood

This past weekend Nigel and I at first had no plans to do anything special for Mother's Day. But then Nigel sent me this article in the Seattle Times about Heronswood's upcoming plant sale and garden open, and he suggested I might want to go to it. What else could I say but yes?

After dropping Nigel off at Daddy Day Care (The Clearwater Casino), I made it to Heronswood in time for the very start of the sale.  After making the rounds of the plant sale tables, and picking up a few choice plants, I grabbed my camera from the car and paid my $10 entry fee. It's been quite a few years since I was at Heronswood, and the last time I was there, it was still mid-renovation. I was there for the very first garden open and plant sale after the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe bought the property, and it was in a very disappointing state at that time.

I'm very happy to report that Heronswood is looking wonderful these days. I don't know what it looked like in its glory days, but its current state is transportative. We are so lucky to have this world-class garden so close by. Dan Hinkley and the army of volunteer gardeners who have been working so hard to renovate it deserve a lot of kudos.

Map of Heronswood -- I followed a counter-clockwise route through the garden -- wandering first through the shady woodland beds, past the Folly, to the house and the Carpinus hedge, to the potager, then to the 12:00 position and the arbor beds, and then out through the perennial border and the blue and yellow bed.

A brief history of Heronswood

Arisaema, Primula sieboldii(?), variegated Iris, sword fern, Hellebore(?) and strawberry Begonia/Saxifraga stolonifera (so, actually, neither a strawberry nor a Begonia)

Primula sieboldii


A little further along the driveway to the house is this trio of Trillium chloropetalum 'Volcano'

Trillium chloropetalum 'Volcano'

To the left of the driveway are three iconic pillars, looking in much better shape than the first time I saw them (they were crumbling)

Various perennials carpet the area beneath the pillars, including these eye-catching Primulas


Not sure of these ferns, but they were very tall (Royal fern/Osmunda regalis?)

Two impressive clumps of lady's slippers (unfortunately, the flowers were past peak and turning a bit brown in spots, so no close-ups)

Enormous Arisaema

Himalayan blue poppy/Meconopsis

Enormous skunk cabbage growing in boggy conditions

As you wander the shady pathways, eventually the Little and Lewis folly comes into view

The first time I visited Heronswood the folly was taped off from visitors with yellow caution tape

This shot illustrates how Heronswood can transport you to another world -- or at least another country. I wouldn't be surprised here to see a line of Buddhist monks trailing through the woods, or perhaps Dr. Strange floating mid-air, gesticulating towards me from behind the fan of palm leaves.

As you venture towards the house, you eventually catch glimpses of the blue and yellow border through the trees- although right now it looks mostly yellow and green


I was surprised to see what looks like rose campion growing near the house -- I have a lot of it and it self-sows like mad

The house

Carpinus betulus 'Fastigiata' aka European hornbeam hedge pruned into cathedral-like arches

Hornbeam hedge and bog

Orange poppy in the potager

Looks like a Verbascum growing the stone wall of the potager, which should make an interesting sight later in the summer when it blooms

Potager beds hedged with boxwood and filled with Marigolds

Each section of the potager has a banana growing in the center

Colorful perennial beds surround the potager (you can see the hornbeam hedge in the background)

Who needs Spanish moss?

In the PNW, we have this growing in the trees

Acer griseum/paperbark maple growing near the house

Arbor beds

Epimedium and hart's tongue fern(?)

Perennial beds

Geranium phaeum and golden grass (Hakone grass? Acorus?)

Hydrangea aspera

Clematis recta purpurea

Arisaema taiwanense

Blue and yellow border

I might copy this combo of golden creeping jenny and Ajuga

Oh yes, there was a sale, and I bought some things, but surely you've seen enough photos? Maybe I'll do a post about my new purchases next week.

Heronswood is open every Friday and every fourth Saturday of the month through October, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. (last garden entry is 2:30 p.m.). Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for ages 7 to 17, and free if you are a Heronswood member or a Port Gamble S’Klallam Community member.