The Plant Hunter's Retreat, Photo Gallery
The private garden of master collector Dan Hinkley. For more about Hinkley's garden, read The Plant Hunter's Retreat.
A vigorous climber harvested in China, Holboellia grandiflora frames the entrance to Hinkley's home.
A peach-flowered lobelia (top) doesn’t merit the prominent placement of a giant variation from Chile (center), which blooms almost ceaselessly and delights hummingbirds. Lobelia laxiflora, from Mexico (bottom), earns a spot right off the main patio.
At Windcliff, Dan Hinkley (pictured holding a hardy schefflera) carefully monitors growth patterns in the thousands of plants he’s collected. In the end, few see commercial introduction.
This Jurassic Gunnera tinctoria, collected in southern Chile, seems to be winning the battle for space over an abundantly flowered Hydrangea longipes, native to Sichuan, China. Yet the gunnera will die down for the winter while the woody hydrangea won’t. At Windcliff, the combination of varying soil composition, mild climate, and regular rainfall allows for such an exceptional array of plants to be seamlessly grown together.
Windcliff may look out over Puget Sound and across to Seattle, but its garden is the result of three decades of plant collecting around the globe. Here, a Magellan fuchsia (Fuchsia magellanica) from the mild rainforests of southern Chile shoulders up to New Zealand toetoe grass (Austroderia fulvida), a hardy Chinese windmill palm (Trachycarpus fortunei), and salal (Gaultheria shallon), a lush shrub native to the West Coast.
This striking mountain ash (Sorbus sp.) was originally collected by Hinkley in 2002 from a remote corner of Nepal. Hinkley found fruits like these in the wild and recognized them as potentially interesting to Western gardeners. To the plant’s collector, however, it stands as “a reminder of the precious qualities of that moment long past.”
At the base of the master bedroom window of his home, Hinkley planted evergreen spurge (Euphorbia characias).