By Buddy Blouin
Tranquil, inquisitive, and beautiful are a few words that one can use to describe the Heronswood Garden. Filled with a variety of rare plants, the Heronswood Garden near Kingston, WA, continues to foster a thriving community centered around horticulture. If you haven’t been, this is a great place to reconnect with nature, leave your worries behind, and enjoy the sights and sounds of unique plant life. Only half an hour away from Naval Base Kitsap and great for all ages, discover what this wonderful garden has to offer.

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History of the Heronswood Garden

The history of the Heronswood Garden has been a complicated one. Founded in 1987 by Daniel Hinkley and Robert Jones, the garden would undergo multiple changes to get it where it is today. The beginning was prosperous. Hinkley and Jones were successful in bringing in an eclectic, rare collection of plants from all over the world, including Asia, Australia, Central America, Eastern Europe, New Zealand, South Africa, and South America. The garden would even be responsible for sending thousands of plants each year to all 50 states, Asia, and Europe. But things would change after it was sold in 2000 to W. Atlee Burpee & Company, a seed and plant distribution firm with national ties. In only six months, bankruptcy was declared, and by 2006, the Heronswood nursery and the garden had both been closed, leaving many workers unemployed and the Heronswood Garden in a dark place. This could have been the end for the garden, and for six years, it was. Many of the beautiful, rare plants were lost, but in 2012, the property found a lifeline. The Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe purchased the property at an auction and began to restore it to its former glory. Today, Heronswood is better than ever. Some plants were restored, while others could not be saved. It’s not about recreating the past but creating a beautiful garden that is reborn for the present and the future. Visitors can enjoy some of the most beautiful plants of rare varietals in the area, one of the best botanical gardens in Washington state, special events, and wonderful educational tours throughout the year.

Planning Your Visit

Checking out the Heronswood Botanical Garden is a good time all around, and to help you get the most out of your visit, we've compiled some important info you’ll want to know before you go:
  • You can find the garden Kingston can’t stop talking about at 7530 NE 288th St., Kingston, WA 98346. However, iPhone users may have problems locating the garden via GPS. Google Maps is highly recommended.
  • Heronswood Garden members and Port Gamble S’Klallam tribal community members can enter for free, as can children ages 6 and under.
  • Kids between the ages of 7 and 17 can gain access for only $5 per person, while adults may enter for only $10 per person.
  • The garden is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. In the winter, you can access the garden through March on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
  • Expect holiday closures around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year. There may also be weather closures, should inclement weather be an issue.
  • Professional/commercial photos must be set up through the garden ahead of time and are prohibited without a signed release. No tripods are allowed. Stick to your phone camera, and be mindful of others.
  • No food, no smoking, no straying from the paths. Watch your children and pets, and clean up should a mess occur.
  • Taking seeds or plant material of any kind is prohibited.
  • For more information, contact the Heronswood Garden directly at

    1 (360) 297-9620

Again, the garden is only a short drive from Naval Base Kitsap and is part of what makes the greater Seattle-metropolitan area such a robust area to live in within the Pacific Northwest. Plan your visit and stop by for a solo trip or a great time with friends and family.

Tour Heronswood Garden With a TV Personality

Dr. Patrick McMillan, host of the PBS series Expeditions with Patrick McMillan, provides guests with a wealth of knowledge through his insightful tours. They are available throughout the year at Heronswood Garden. You’ll be given lunch as well as educated on the Woodland Garden, Potager, and the latest attraction, the x̣ə́w̕əs shəyí (new life spirit) Renaissance Garden. The tours also include historical facts about the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe who have successfully resurrected this once-forgotten oasis.

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Image: Caitlin Mills for The Design Files



botanical gardens
heronswood garden
nb kitsap
outdoor recreation

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