Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Windcliff, The Garden of Dan Hinkley and Robert Jones

I'm lucky to live only an hour drive from Windcliff, the garden and home of Dan Hinkley and Robert Jones.  Luckier still, the garden is now open to members of the Northwest Perennial Alliance and others several times a month and also by appointment.  I've been visiting the garden for  years now and it's been a joy to see this ever-changing creation of the force behind  Heronswood. Before visiting for the first time, I emailed ahead to ask permission to take photographs.  The reply came that taking photographs was perfectly acceptable but sharing them in any way was forbidden.  Respecting this request, I've heretofore not shown any images of the garden or its plants, other than those that I've purchased.   However, on a recent visit, talking with Dan, I asked if their policy remained the same and was told that it is now permissible to share images.  Having several visits worth of images, sharing them all at once would make a really long post.  Instead, I'll share the visits periodically. Today, images from a June 2014 visit with Vickie and Evan.

Everyone should have a driveway this beautiful!

One never knows what he or she might encounter around the next bend in the road.  The garden gnomes here look so life-like!

Hydrangeas are very photogenic!

This was the second time I'd admired this plant (Illicium anisatum 'Variegata') with it's stunning new burgundy growth.

There were none available for sale but some were being rooted for Monrovia to try.  I asked about it in 2015 and these had all been sent off.  I couldn't believe it on my most recent visit earlier this week when Robert told me that there was one on the table for sale.  Out of the thousands of people and plants that pass their way, he somehow remembered my inquiry from a year ago, bless his heart!

Rhodocoma capensis which seems to be among the hardiest of the Restios in PNW gardens.  In severe winters mine get brown so they're now grown in large pots which I drag inside the greenhouse if really low temperatures are predicted. Here they seem to flourish with little protection.

On one side of the driveway there are several groves of bamboo.  

Eucomis (I think) simply glow in the misty light. 

Perfectly blending plant lust and design, Hinkley and Jones have created another masterpiece  which is a joy to visit.  Like Heronswood, this is a place that is both aesthetically brilliant and intellectually stimulating. (Okay, maybe it's more intellectually stimulating to plant nerds than to the general population.)

Dan once wrote of Heronswood, "Every garden needs an audience."  The sharing of their garden space with the public while maintaining their privacy must be a delicate balance.  Did I mention that there are also plants for sale on site?

Colletia hystrix

Romneya coulteri beginning to bloom.  I've not noticed these  here when they're not in bloom and mine always look dreadful in the fall and winter.  Do these get cut to the ground?

Incredible view.  In pictures from later visits, you'll see that on the left is the Seattle skyline and on the right is Mount Rainier.   Sigh.  BTW, there are a couple of parcels of land along this same  side of the water currently for sale!

 Dierama pulcherrima

Smitten by this brilliant stair arrangement!

Aloe polyphylla wearing Tropaeolum polyphyllum.  Both are grown in the well draining soil under the southern eaves of the house.

Waterside opuntia bring a smile.  Not what one might typically think about growing near water but the contrast is stunning!

There are outdoor showers on each end of the house, a perfect way to clean up at the end of a long day of gardening before entering the house.
 The floors of the showers are the creation of Jeffrey Bale. You'll see more of his work in later Windcliff posts.

The work of Marcia Donahue also adorns Windcliff.  Again, more in later posts. 

tropaeolum speciosum buds.

Here, Tropaeolum speciosum clambers through shrubs.  One can see how it got the common name Flame Flower.  It was at Heronswood that I first saw and fell in love with this nasturtium which now adorns my own garden.  

Fabulous bank of cube containers on the north side of the house beside the driveway. 

Dreamy variegated Daphniphyllum macropodum.  

The sun briefly shone on this combination which glowed like a black light poster!  The picture doesn't come close to capturing the vibrance.

Up the hill, beyond the sunny growing area and greenhouse is the shade plant propagation area sheltered by huge old trees.

I'll end this post with a shot of Davidia involucrata ‘Tricolor’ which Dan describes as, "A superb, extremely rare and choice form of the rarified Dove Tree, with foliaged bordered in intense tones of cream, green and purple in spring, fading in intensity by late summer. A somewhat smaller size of 30-40’ can be expected on this clone which is already ‘biologically’ enough."  I was smitten with the tree but not the price.  Imagine my glee when, a few months later, their price had been cut in half.

Thank you Dan and Robert, for opening your garden so frequently to allow us to continue studying and learning about fabulous flora!


  1. Wow. Just wow. We should snap up those adjoining lots. Think of the trouble we could get into.

  2. Marvelous visit. I was blown away by the blue blossoms in the first photo that are something that does not thrive here. Ever.

    It's a real treat to glimpse Jeffrey Bale's work in a garden. Every piece reminds me of a photo I saw of him at work, carefully placing each stone and spraying it with water. Incredible.

    ... and you got the variegated Dove Tree.

  3. Thanks for sharing your pictures from a previous visit. I know that because they have withheld permission to share photos for so long that you have a huge backlog. Looking forward to more.

  4. I was going to say after reading the title, "You lucky dog", but after reading the text, I know that we are the lucky dogs because we get to see images of all your visits. Looking forward to seeing them very much, Peter, especially this time of year when gardens down here are brown and ugly, not green and inspiring like in PNW. Such a treat!

    1. This man has a sense of humor that includes Latin or scientific names. To wit: "Aloe polyphylla wearing Tropaeolum polyphyllum" (two plants with "many leaves") and "Waterside opuntia bring a smile" where the opuntia appears to be littoralis or coastal opuntia and is planted next to the water in the pond and in the background.

  5. I love that photo of Vicki and Evan! "Every garden needs an audience"...I'm going to be ruminating on that one for awhile.

    Kudos to you for hanging on to those photos, and for not sharing them when it was forbidden...even though some other folks were. I can't wait to see more!

  6. The panoramic shots are stunning. Can you imagine living next door to those two? I love Dierama pulcherrima although mine don't have that dramatic display... what are those in the background? banners? I took notice of the black pebble at the foot of the plants, as well as pebble-use through out, especially in the shower! Very cool.

  7. Too beautiful not to share. I'm so glad they changed their minds about the photos so we can tour this wonderful garden with you.

  8. Glad to hear you're finally able to share photos of the garden, wow! So lucky to have their well known garden near you, and to be able to visit. A garden masterfully crafted!

  9. Ok, I am beyond jealous! What a treasure to visit and not just once. Thanks for these wonderful pix since usually you just see a few images in articles. I have a number of Heronswwod plants. I felt like I had arrived when I could read their catalog and undetstand it!

  10. You are so very, very lucky. I appreciate that you secured permission to share your images, which makes your readers also very lucky.

  11. We have visited Windcliff just once, in July of 2014. as you can see from this link http://lindaletters.blogspot.com/2014/07/windcliff.html, it looks much different later in the summer.

  12. What a stunning garden, I'm in awe of the plants and the landscaping, all of which work in perfect harmony!

  13. Lovely. I love that Aloe but they are all wonderful. Wonderful place to visit.

  14. What an amazing garden with such incredible vistas... And I agree with you about the beauty of those steps.

  15. Dan's fame is well deserved. It's a privilege to see his handiwork. Thanks, Peter.

  16. When we visited a few years back the photo ban was still in place, so your photos revive our visit too. The spiral aloe and the tropaeolum -- polyphylla/polyphyllum -- clever and gorgeous. And I like the idea of growing bergenia in a container. I've always wanted to grow some but can't figure out where.

  17. Amazing. I'm so appreciative of the facts that Dan allowed you to share photos and that you took such great ones. The Tropaeolum (both of them) in this post - what's your secret for growing them? I have tried from seed but no luck. OH, I want them both badly....plant lust!

  18. Oh! We can share our photos now? Oh!!! I need to get to work! That was such a great adventure with you and Vicki. I need to go on more adventures like that.


Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your thoughts.