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Garden News

Global Plant Hunter Hinkley to Speak at Kruckeberg Garden Annual Meeting

The public is invited to the Kruckeberg Botanic Garden Foundation’s Annual Members’ Meeting on January 12. It will feature the renowned plantsman Dan Hinkley. Called “the Indiana Jones of horticulture” and “the world's foremost plant explorer,” he will speak on “Often Overlooked Plants for Pacific Northwest Gardens.” Hinkley will recommend some of his favorite hardy trees, shrubs, vines, grasses and perennials that thrive in maritime climates but are seldom found in local gardens.

After earning a masters degree in urban horticulture from The University of Washington in 1985 (Dr. Kruckeberg was one of his professors), Hinkley and his partner, architect Robert Jones, started Heronswood Nursery in Kingston, Washington. By the 1990s, it had achieved an international reputation and clientele and established Hinckley as a world-class plant hunter. His display gardens in Kingston had 10,000 species, many raised from seed collected by Hinckley during expeditions in Asia, New Zealand, Latin America and other exotic locales.

The Heronswood catalogs eventually listed almost 3,000 species and were cherished for Hinkley’s lively and finely crafted essays about his adventures discovering plants around the world. He also has written numerous articles and three books: Winter Ornamentals (1993), The Explorers Garden: Rare and Unusual Perennials (1999), and The Explorers Garden: Shrubs and Vines from the Four Corners of the World (2009). In addition, Hinckley is the garden correspondent for Martha Stewart.

Heronswood was sold in 2000 to Burpee Seeds and operated until 2006 when it was closed. Hinkley and Jones moved to Indianola, Washington, where they established Windcliff Gardens on 6.5 acres overlooking Puget Sound. Hinkley continues his globe-trotting in search of new species and returned from his most recent trip to China last November.

The recipient of many awards and honors recognizing his remarkable contributions to horticulture, Hinkley is a compelling speaker. His illustrated presentation will follow a short members’ meeting and the election of board officers for the Foundation at 7 PM, January 12. Events will be held in the Shoreline City Hall council chambers, 17500 Midvale Ave N. Dr Art Kruckeberg, who will be 92 in March, plans to attend. Donations from non-members attending the lecture are welcome.