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High-Performance Plants for Shade with Dan Hinkley

Take a tour with this renowned plantsman through his garden filled with interesting treasures

Video: Fine Gardening magazine

Plants—all creatures depend on them for survival, but their immeasurable value goes well beyond sustenance. Modern humans have been enamored by their beauty for thousands of years—seeking, collecting, and cultivating these botanical wonders for their captivating qualities. If you’re a gardener, you know all too well that the zeal for amazing plants is real. And thanks to renowned Washington-state-based plantsman Dan Hinkley, most gardeners need to look no further than their local garden center for new and exciting selections.

For more than 25 years, Dan has been traveling the globe in search of high-performance plants for use in gardens big and small. For garden designers, Dan’s plants are invaluable throughout the landscape, adding amazing textures, colors, and forms. In this video, designer Courtney Olander sat down with Dan to talk about some of his favorite plants, which are available in the Dan Hinkley Collection, offered since 2007 by Monrovia—North America’s leading grower of premium landscaping plants.

You’ll also get a behind-the-scenes look at Dan’s private garden, Windcliff, and his propagation greenhouse, and you’ll hear about some of the expeditions he took to find specialty plants.

Here is a listing of just some of the plants you’ll see and learn about:

Sunny Daze Japanese laurel (Aucuba japonica ‘MonHinsuru’, Zones 8–10)

Camouflage Variegated Japanese Aralia (Fatsia japonica ‘Variegata’, Zones 7–10)

Winged Phoenix hardy schefflera (Schefflera heptapleurum ‘Monhinschf’, Zones 7–10)

Goldfinger hardy schefflera (Schefflera heptapleurum ‘Hingdfn’, Zones 7–10)

Beesia (Beesia deltophylla, Zones 6–8)

Jurassic Velociraptor ribbon fern (Pteris cretica, Zones 7–9)

Red-leafed mukdenia (Mukdenia rossii ‘Crimson Fans’, Zones 4–9)

Tectonic begonias (Begonia spp. and cvs., Zones 8–11)



For more information about the Monrovia Dan Hinkley Collection, go to:




View Comments


  1. depotts 05/07/2021

    So disappointing, discussion for shade gardens focused on nonnative plants. What is their value to local birds, butterflies, bees, and insects?

    1. ljbar 05/10/2021

      That's what Dan Hinkley does. He finds rare plants from around the world. You can have a garden full of native plants for pollinators and have a rare plant here and there.

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