Daniel J. Hinkley

Dan Hinkley, born in the zone 4 highlands of North Central Michigan, has had a lifelong interest in all types of plants from trees to edibles, leading him to receive his B.S. in Ornamental Horticulture and Horticulture Education from Michigan State University in 1976, and his M.S. in Urban Horticulture from the University of Washington in 1985.

In 1987, while teaching horticulture at Edmonds Community College north of Seattle, he and his partner, Robert L. Jones, began Heronswood Nursery, near Kingston, WA. Devoted to introducing rare and unusual plants to gardeners of North America, this endeavor has led Hinkley into the wilds of China, South and Central America, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Nepal, Vietnam, Taiwan, Sikkim, Bhutan, Tasmania and Canada numerous times a year for the past 22 years. Heronswood Nursery previously listed nearly 3000 plant species, and has shipped to 48 states as well as England, Europe and Asia. His sizable and productive potager at Heronswood has been widely published. When W.A.Burpee closed the garden and nursery in May of 2006, Dan independently focused his attentions on continued plant hunting, writing, speaking and plant research.

Hinkley has written for a number of periodicals, including Pacific Horticulture, The American Gardener, Garden Design, The Gardener, Horticulture Magazine, American Nurseryman, Gardens Illustrated, Martha Stewart Living, Fine Gardening and The English Garden, as well as having regular columns in Horticulture Magazine, and an occasional horticulture feature for the Seattle Times. He is a contributing editor to Horticulture Magazine and has appeared many times on Martha Stewart Living television as a gardening correspondent. On April 17, 2007 Dan appeared in a PBS NOVA program, The First Flower, exploring the flora of remote mountains of China.

His first book, Winter Ornamentals, was published in 1993 and his second, The Explorers Garden: Rare and Unusual Perennials, received the 1999 Book of the Year Award from the American Horticultural Society. His third book, released in May of 2009 and the second in a series of three, is titled The Explorers Garden: Shrubs and Vines from the Four Corners of the World for which he received the 2010 Book of the Year Award from the American Horticultural Society.

In 2003, Hinkley was honored with the Scott Arboretum Gold Medal from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania for his lifetime achievements in horticulture. He has been awarded the Marcel Le Piniac Award from the American Rock Garden Society, The Medal of Honor from the Garden Club of America, The Garden Communicator of the Year award from the American Nurserymen and Landscape Association, the White Gold Medal from the Greater Cleveland Horticultural Society, and in 2006, the Liberty Hyde Bailey Award from the American Horticultural Society for a lifetime of achievement in education, writing and plant exploration. He received on June 21, 2007 and July 2, 2007 respectively, the George Robert White Medal of Honor from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society for the advancement of interest in horticulture in the broadest sense; and from the Royal Horticulture Society of Great Britain, the Veitch Memorial Medal for his outstanding contribution to the advancement of the science and practice of horticulture. In March of 2008 Dan was appointed to memberships of the boards of both the Elisabeth C. Miller Botanical Garden Trust and the Elisabeth C. Miller Botanical Garden Endowment Trust. In 2010 Dan was presented the Perennial Plant Association Award of Merit for contributions to the advancement of the perennials plant industry through lectures, writing and plant exploration.

Dan Hinkley currently resides in Indianola, WA where he is in the process of realizing his latest endeavor, the Gardens of Windcliff. Among many and varied garden spaces the project includes a large greenhouse, raised beds, and a generous potager for research in edibles, all on a south-facing bluff overlooking Puget Sound; and is in the process of writing his third book for Timber Press in the Explorer’s Garden series, a second book on the Winter Garden this time for Timber Press, and a book for Farrar Strauss and Giroux on the Making of Heronswood.