Plant hunter Daniel J. Hinkley may be best known as an author, lecturer, television guest — from Nova to The Martha Stewart Show — and founder of the cultishly adored Heronswood Nursery, where he helped advance American plantsmanship one plant and one anecdote at a time. Today, though, much of his energy is directed inward as he tends the six-and-a-half-acre garden he’s dubbed Windcliff.
A house and garden grow together, with some strategic planning by their owner, Page Dickey, in upstate New York.
The Sakonnet Garden in Little Compton, Rhode Island, began as the private domain of the then 12-year-old John Gwynne—“a place I could explore,” says Gwynne, now retired and again spending much of his time in the one-acre plot. Situated on a peninsula brushed by the Gulf Stream, Little Compton enjoys a maritime climate that allows Gwynne and Mikel Folcarelli, his partner of 30 years, to grow a wide variety of plants, from Himalayan blue poppies to palms. “We started collecting just to see what we could grow,” says Gwynne.