Garden Photo of the Day

The Blue and Yellow Garden at Heronswood

A simply color scheme pulls this garden together

Frequent GPOD contributor Cherry Ong recently got the chance to visit Heronswood, a garden in Kingston, Washington, that she says has been on her bucket list to visit for a long time.

If you aren’t familiar with Heronswood, it started in 1987 as the garden and nursery of famous plant explorer Dan Hinkley. In the 1990s, it was perhaps the premier rare plants nursery in the country. That all changed in 2000 when the nursery was purchased by a larger company. The new owner shuttered it, seemingly for good, in 2006. Gardeners mourned, but then, in 2012, the Heronswood was purchased by the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe. With an army of volunteers and staff, the tribe has been restoring and revitalizing the garden after years of neglect. It is exciting to see such a fabulous nursery rise from the ashes. If you haven’t had the chance to visit, Cherry has taken some amazing photos, so you can get a virtual visit right here on the GPOD.

Today we’re taking you to the blue and yellow garden at Heronswood. Keep an eye out for posts from other parts of the garden on the GPOD in coming weeks.

HeronswoodThis garden demonstrates the power of using two simple techniques in designing a garden: (1) limiting your color choices, and (2) repeating the same plants throughout the garden. By doing so, the garden instantly feels cohesive, planned, and harmonious.

The lilies are obviously the stars here. Tall, richly colored, and dramatic, they are show-stoppers. But there are lots of other things going on to maintain interest once the lilies have faded.

lily blossomsClose-up of the lily blossoms

Nile lilyBringing blue to the party, Nile lily (Agapanthus, Zones 7–10) is a staple in gardens in mild winter climates along the West Coast. They don’t often perform as well in other parts of the country, but if they are happy in your garden, they are truly beautiful.

GoldenrodGoldenrod (Solidago species) doesn’t always get the respect it deserves. Sure, some species are weedy, but there are many species that are well-behaved and bring great gold displays to the late summer/fall garden.

Japanese forest grassA blue perennial geranium (possibly Geranium ‘Rozanne’, Zones 5–8) and yellow-variegated Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra, Zones 5–9). These are both widely adapted plants that will thrive in shade.

Yellow creeping JennyYellow creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’, Zones 3–9) and bugleweed (Ajuga reptans, Zones 3–10). The bugleweed will have blue flowers in the spring.

One last look at this magical corner of the garden.


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    treasuresmom 11/29/2019

    I have never been but would love to for sure. Lovely photos, Cherry.

    1. perenniallycrazy 12/06/2019

      Thank you. I hope you have the fortune to visit one day.

  2. User avater
    user-7007816 11/29/2019

    I was an early Heronswood Nursery customer. My customer number is 157. We visited Heronswood from Michigan around 1990 when it was mostly a huge display area. Thanks for sharing the new garden setting.

    1. perenniallycrazy 12/06/2019

      That's awesome! I hope I have a chance to visit again.

  3. nwphillygardener 11/29/2019

    I appreciate seeing this one garden bed with several photos to show the specific plants that give this limited color palette border such harmony.
    And I just LOVE Agapanthus which makes me think of fireworks.
    Thanks, Cherry, of your many contributions to GPOD!

    1. perenniallycrazy 12/06/2019

      You're welcome. We all love agapanthus and Heronswood has an amazing array of them.

  4. nwphillygardener 11/29/2019

    BTW, can anyone identify the tall variegated shrub that is behind some of the tall yellow lilies?

    1. perenniallycrazy 12/06/2019

      I believe the shrub is Gilt Edge Silverberry or Elaeagnus ebbingei 'Gilt Edge' behind and beside those Conca D'Or Oriental Trumpet Lilies.

  5. User avater
    simplesue 11/29/2019

    Beautiful, thanks for sharing photos and info on this garden. I googled it and found it's website.

    1. perenniallycrazy 12/06/2019

      You're welcome. Hope you can visit!

  6. wittyone 11/29/2019

    I had heard about this garden, it's being bought out, plants transported elsewhere and then abandoned and felt terrible as a result. This is wonderful news to me that it has been rescued and is being brought back to life.


  7. btucker9675 11/29/2019

    Blue and yellow - my favorite color combination! What a beautiful garden.

    1. perenniallycrazy 12/06/2019

      Totally and wish GPOD could transmit the sweet scent of those lilies.

  8. zone3ruby 11/29/2019

    Heronswood has been on my bucket list for a long time and I'm so glad it is being restored. Thank you for sharing this beautiful garden Cherry - and for all your GPOD contributions!

    1. perenniallycrazy 12/06/2019

      I echo your sentiment about the restoration of Heronswood.

      You're welcome! Glad to share gardening happiness with everyone...Happy Holidays Zone3Ruby!

  9. toweringpines 11/29/2019

    GPOD remains a highlight of the day and i so want to travel to Pacific NW.
    FG editors are doing a great job.

    1. perenniallycrazy 12/06/2019

      Ditto to that!

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