Dan Hinkley: Heronswood Nursery

By Dunmire, John R.; Swezey, Lauren Bonar | Sunset, May 1998 | Go to article overview

Dan Hinkley: Heronswood Nursery


Dunmire, John R., Swezey, Lauren Bonar, Sunset


Dan Hinkley may just be the Northwest's own Indiana Jones. His allconsuming passion for trekking around the world in search of new plants began 10 years ago when he was teaching horticulture at the community college in Edmonds, Washington. Lecturing, for him, had lost its luster; he wanted to show the students what the plants looked like in the wild. "It also thrilled me to think that there might be plants growing in the wild that we'd never grown here," says Hinkley.

Today, Hinkley makes two or three major expeditions a year to exotic destinations around the world, including China, Japan, Korea, and Nepal. The rest of the time, he joins his partner, Robert Jones, in running Heronswood Nursery, a world-class mail-order and retail business. The two sell all of the amazing new plants that Hinkley finds overseas.

Among his most memorable trips was a trek through the Himalayas three years ago in search of species of plants such as Arisaema, Cardiocrinum, Diosporopsis, and Sorbus. For the fourweek trip, 24 porters accompanied five plant explorers. They camped at 16,000 feet. "There's no place to buy food and supplies, so you have to bring it all with you," says Hinkley. …

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