The assets of Heronswood Gardens and Heronswood Nursery were sold to the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, the Native American Tribe that has its ancestral land on the location of the Garden’s 15 acres on the Kitsap Peninsula, in Kingston, Washington.
In a statement released by George Ball, Chairman, W. Atlee Burpee & Co., which has owned Heronswood for the past 12 years, Mr. Ball expressed his gratitude that both the Gardens and Nursery were purchased by Port Gamble S’Klallam. “We couldn’t be more pleased with our association with the new owners,” he said, “and we are especially delighted by their commitment to preserve this national treasure.
“The Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe,” Mr. Ball noted, “has agreed both to preserve the historic gardens, and to use the facilities to educate their members, as well as the public, about native plants. We hope to assist it in carrying out its mission,” Mr. Ball added, “with support from the Burpee Foundation, since it is entirely consistent with the work we are currently involved in throughout the nation.”
The Heronswood Nursery, including all its direct-marketing assets such as the website, picture catalogues and trademarks were included in the sale. “Our rare and unusual perennial business will continue under the Burpee brand, as it has for 136 years,” Mr. Ball said. “We have reached an agreement that we have exclusive rights to use our past Heronswood varieties and collections, along with their names. There is no present or potential conflict of interest in this sale.”
The sale resulted from a sealed-bid auction conducted by Sheldon Good & Company, which was completed on June 15, 2012. (I've asked how much it sold for, and haven't gotten an answer yet, but the amount is rumored to be far less than the tribe originally offered, and certainly less than the local Pacific Northwest Horticultural Conservancy group offered years ago...)...
“The Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe had been discussing the possibility of purchasing the property for several years,” Mr. Ball said. “I am very happy that both the gardens and nursery are in such good hands, since our interests mesh with theirs.”
Maybe this is the end of the 12 year saga of the sale of Heronswood Nursery. Here's Dan's official comment:
Robert and I are gladdened that the land on which Heronswood was built has returned again to the freehold of the Pacific Northwest, and in turn to those of our region whose sense of grace, veracity and intellect is rooted in common. If we should be asked, Robert and I will lend our full support to the S'Kallam to replenish and regrow a garden whose light has dimmed, providing volunteer efforts and plants from our current and past introductions. However we fully actualize that this land is now the pursuit of a new owner with legitimate claim and principled intent; if our guidance is not sought, our distance will be deliberate while being fully supportive. Irrespective, we look forward to possible future opportunities to again visit this place that we once called our home and to reacquaint ourselves with old friends who (hopefully) still grow amongst the rich layers of memory that are forever positioned between each and every plant we had once placed."