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

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

A Blogaversary Post About Heronswood

It was 9 years ago today, on September 5, 2009, that I started this blog, primarily as a way to keep track of changes in our new garden, and 10 years ago this October that Nigel and I moved here to Washington state and began our big adventure.

On Labor Day weekend, on Saturday to be exact, Nigel and I drove up the Kitsap Peninsula for a visit to Heronswood. It seems to me that I share a lot of photos of Heronswood on my blog, but after doing a Google search I realized that there have actually only been a couple of posts. See posts here and here. I took lots of pictures, because I thought the entire garden was looking particularly bright and full and glorious. Also, it wasn't a sale weekend for them, so it wasn't crawling with people, which meant I could take lots of pics without having to dodge other humans. And I do mean a lot of pics. This is going to be a very picture-laden post.

I often ignore the area around the parking lot, which is always full of people and cars coming and going, because every other time I've been there it has been during a plant sale. This time there were only a handful of cars, so I could wander without fear of being run down and I could take my time. I've seldom paid much attention to this mostly sunny area.

Looks like a Beschorneria on the far right, and the red next to it might be a Fascicularia pitcairnifolia -- too bad I didn't actually notice it till I looked at my pictures

I noticed a new area being worked on as you enter by car, on the left in the photo below. There were signs saying they are building a stumpery.

Garrya, I think, with last winter's old flowers, right near the entrance to the parking lot

Beschorneria, dripping with seedpods

Peter has told me the name of this shrub many times, but I think it always goes in one ear and out the other

Clerodendron? It smelled fantastic!


Another Hydrangea, near the driveway that leads to the house

There are many tantalizing paths that lead into this shady area from the parking lot

Some kind of Aralia, judging by the seedpods

They look a lot like the ones that form on my Aralia californica

Another inviting path

Huge Gunnera, dwarfing the Darmera nearby

I managed to ward off the temptation of shady paths and headed down the driveway.  I often follow more or less the same clockwise path through Heronswood every time I visit -- down the driveway, through the yellow and blue garden, along the perennial borders, into the gardens near the house, the hornbeam hedge and the potager/parterre, and then out through the shady garden.

This large Aralia is at the side of the driveway

Enormous Woodwardia frond

Peony seedpod starting to burst open

Little and Lewis columns with a carpet of ferns and spires of Cardiocrinum seedpods

Frothy bifurcated ferns

No idea what this is, but it looks Geranium-like (It's Saxifraga fortunei 'Pink Geisha' according to Peter, available from Windcliff, I must buy it next spring)

Obligatory Sinopanax shot

Enormous rootball covered with ferns and Bromeliads

As the house comes into view the garden starts to open out into more sun

The blue and yellow border

You step through a hedge and into this:

The Perennial Borders

Chocolate Cosmos

There are lots of touches of red in these borders

At the end of the long perennial borders is a curved pergola, which you enter:

They've been working for a while on an area beyond the borders, and now it's finished!

You may have noticed the white tent on the left edge of the above photo. The new area is an event space, for weddings, etc.

More Woodwardia

Can you believe that color?

From there you cross through the pergola and into the house gardens.

And then around the corner of the house you come upon the pleached hornbeam hedge and the bog.

Beyond the hedge is what they call the Potager. I've always thought the grandness of this area seems more akin to a Parterre. It's a large area, hard to get in one shot, divided into triangular sections that is each bordered with low-cut boxwood (I think), with very colorful borders all around it.

Here you can see a couple of the sections, there are more to the right

Lobelia tupa

As you leave the Potager/Parterre, you come around to the front of the house again.

The other side of the hornbeam hedge

Around the curve of the driveway you can just see the blue and yellow border

An opening leads you into more shady areas and lots of crisscrossing paths


Not to gardening staff about the Roscoea

Can't help wondering what their plans are for this stump/rootball

Another enormous Woodwardia

Tree ferns come into view, which means you're near the Little and Lewis Folly

This rather ugly view from the Folly also leaves me wondering what's in the future.

Stepping stones lead away from the Folly through a boggy area

Moss-covered ferny urn

There's always one flower stalk that just refuses to behave

More Cardicrinum seedpods rise to the heavens

The garden has come a long way since 2012, when the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe bought Heronswood and began to revive it. While I never saw it during its heyday, in the last couple of years it has given me a great deal of pleasure every time I've visited. 

Heronswood is open to the public for self-guided tours, Fridays and Saturdays, March through October, from 10 to 3.