Nestled in North Kitsap, is Heronswood, a botanical paradise. Originally brought to life in 1987 by Horticulturalist Dan Hinkley and his husband, architect Robert L. Jones, the garden has grown to more than 15 acres of fantastic flora from all around the world. Heronswood is an internationally recognized treasure in the Pacific Northwest, even garnering the attention of Martha Stewart.
Hinkley’s dream of starting a small nursery, where he could introduce rare and hardy plants to the community, has become a de facto landmark in Kitsap County. He spent the next 20 years developing the estate and traveling worldwide on plant-hunting trips to expand the garden. In 2000, Hinkley and Jones sold the business to W. Atlee Burpee Company. But in 2006 the company filed for bankruptcy. The estate laid dormant until 2012 when it was sold to the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe.
Together with Hinkley, the S’Klallam Tribe has breathed new life into the garden through a series of tremendous restoration efforts. The Heronswood Garden has become a place for special events, plant sales, and educational programs that speak to the heritage of the garden and the S’Klallam Tribe.
For centuries, the S’Klallam Tribe occupied the shores of Strait Juan de Fuca, Admiralty Inlet, and Puget Sound. S’Klallam means “strong people”. Although their culture was almost lost after European contact, the S’Klallam have maintained agency over their heritage and traditions.
Over the past few decades, tribal leaders have made significant efforts to strengthen their community through economic development, establishing an Economic Development Authority to support local businesses through the administration of federal grants.
The acquisition of Heronswood Garden has provided an opportunity for all community members to work together to maintain this local treasure. Since 2012, members of Heronswood staff, the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, the Heronswood Garden Steering Committee, and dozens of very skilled, dedicated volunteers have teamed up to shape the future of Heronswood.
Heronswood sign and the S’Klallam Orca Crest. Photos by Leo Phillips.
Legacy and Future
After 35 years and two ownership changes, Heronswood continues to thrive and flourish. It offers an abundance of resources and events for community members to learn more about horticulture. Hinkley, now Director Emeritus, creates and leads many of these events himself. Field Notes is the official blog of Heronswood, where Hinkley and Assistant Director Dr. Ross Bayton write educational blog posts about their experiences foraging around the world. They also have Nature Notes, a video series that features new Garden Director, Dr. Patrick Mcmillan. In this series, you can learn fascinating information about Pacific Northwest shrubs, trees, and more.
Lunchbreak Lectures is an online series of classes that take place virtually over Zoom. Hinkley and Bayton teach these classes. Heronswood also offers pre-scheduled tours lead by experienced garden professionals.
In adherence to current COVID-19 guidelines, masks and facial covers are mandatory. Tourists will be able to use a whisper headset system to listen to the tour guide while maintaining six feet from one another.
Next spring, Heronswood will be dedicating a stumpery, an artistic display of tree stumps, that recounts the history of the S’Klallam Tribe with the local timber industry. Additionally, they will be adding plant species used in traditional dyeing and weaving for tribal artists to access. The S’Klallam Tribe and Hinkley are ushering in a new chapter for Heronswood, bringing people from all over Kitsap County and beyond to experience the unparalleled beauty of the botanical garden and S’Klallam Tribe.
The quaint community of Kingston sits just a ferry ride away from Seattle and Edmonds, yet it retains the easygoing energy of the Kitsap Peninsula.
A Scenic Home for a Connected Life
Whether you’re starting a family or looking to live near a big city but not in one, Kingston is a wonderful place to put down roots. Kingston’s history as a town dates back to 1890. That’s when the Kingston Land and Improvement Company was established by Seattle investors. They wanted the area to become a “resort and hideaway for Seattle folk”.
Stepping off the ferry, the charm of Kingston’s downtown surrounds, starting with a greeting from the lovely welcome mural. A five-minute stroll through the tree-lined street reveals the lovely little Paris feel of J’aime les Crêpes Crêperie and the robust food and drink options at places like Kingston Alehouse and d’Vine Wines. Venture up the hill to the rustic, century-old farmhouse of the Mossback Cafe for locally-sourced, eclectic meals.
Though Kingston is small, there are many options for a good cup of coffee as well as a range of delicious treats, thanks to places like The Coffee Oasis, The Cup & Muffin, Sweet Life Cakery, and Borrowed Kitchen Bakery. You could literally eat your way through town and then enjoy a movie at the now nationally known Firehouse Theater. Then stroll down Saltair Beach or go play some golf at the beautiful White Horse Golf Club.
“Kingston is still a small friendly town that is full of people that greet one another when you run into each other in the store or about town,” says Windermere Kingston’s Managing Broker, Jet Woelke. “Locals will pitch in and help neighbors in need or pull together if the community needs something. It’s amazing the community involvement!”
Kingston is connected to exciting, culturally rich areas to explore. Just a short drive away are the towns of Indianola, Suquamish, Hansville, and Port Gamble. Each has its own distinct feel, with unique activities for all ages.
What is now a quaint seaside community and friendly artists’ haven, Indianola was founded in 1916 as a summer/weekend community only reached by steamboat. Since those humble beginnings, even big names such as Martha Stewart have discovered its serenity. Stewart knows the Director Emeritus of Heronswood Garden, Dan Hinkley. In 2013, Stewart visited Indianola and Heronswood Garden in nearby Kingston. An incredible botanical garden, Heronswood is maintained by the Port Gamble S’Klallam Foundation and the garden’s management team. There’s lush beauty all around North Kitsap, and Indianola is one picturesque place to enjoy it.
Fishing has long been a focal point here. For thousands of years, the Suquamish and their ancestors inhabited this region, and fishing was traditionally their most important source of food. It still remains important for many Tribes today. Visit the reservation town of Suquamish to tour the beautiful Suquamish Museum and pay your respects at the gravesite of Chief Seattle.
Suquamish also offers parks and some popular places like Sully’s Bistro & Bar, which often serves locally sourced seafood. Realtor Christine Todd loves the beautiful views there. “Grab a seat on one of the beach logs at Old Man House and watch the marine traffic go by.”
Spend a day at the famous Point No Point Beach in Hansville, featuring the oldest lighthouse on Puget Sound. It just so happens to also be one of the best Chinook Salmon fishing holes in all of Puget Sound. You can join the growing trend of kayak salmon fishing. The quiet, friendly town of Hansville also has some nice places to stop in for a bite like North Point Market. This deli offers fresh food, coffee, local produce, and gifts.
Visit nearby Port Gamble, an old company town, for a foray into cute, turn-of-the-century culture. Growing from a bustling logging town to a popular tourist destination, it’s now famous for its New England style homes, its hiking and biking trails, and paranormal activity legends. It’s also a popular wedding venue and has even served as a backdrop for Hollywood films.
Gorgeous vistas, rich areas to explore, thriving small businesses, and great schools – what’s not to love? The Kingston area offers a range of sights, activities, and much more. If you’re looking to buy in the area, our local experts would be happy to show you around.