What a relief to have Heronswood out of the hands of George Ball.
The dramatic history of the Northwest's famous nursery and garden has fairy tale elements to it - Two young men build a garden and famous nursery out of nothing but their skill and hard work, its purchase by a wealthy nurseryman who turned out to be...well...problematic. The firing of founders Hinkley and Jones, Ball moving plants east, then precipitously closing Heronswood down. Then a long decline when no one really knew what was going on...all the elements of a classic tale...
Then...the surprise of the S'Klallam tribe stepping in to buy the languishing garden along with the Heronswood name. I'm not making light of any of the travail and sadness of Heronswood's closing and decline. We thought we'd lost a genuine Northwest treasure, a beloved garden, the place that put us on the global gardening map.
But Heronswood is back in business. What kind of condition is it in? “There were six years of no one being there; it had been minimally maintained,” says Noel Higa, Economic Development Director of the S’Klallam tribe.
The tribe has ambitious plans to restore the garden and open it to the public. They're figuring out how to add native culture and art to the mix while staying true to the original garden.
Resurrection is underway with work parties, a Facebook page, and...I love this...a day that was dedicated to hosting gay marriages in the garden. What good karma, a sweet and joyous launch of the garden's second life.
Here are a few photos of the initial workparty..courtesy of Lynne Harrison -
Dan Hinkley back in the garden he created so many years ago...
At this point a small group of former Heronistas, tribe members, and knowledgeable horticulturists are working with Dan to figure out where to start to bring the garden back to life.