George Ball on Heronswood's selling price

Discussion in 'Conversations Forum' started by Daniel Mosquin, Aug 4, 2006.

  1. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    I've heard some locals organized to try and buy the garden, save it but the current asking price is too much for them. We'll see what develops, so to speak.
     
  3. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    But that is an interesting question: just because it is too much for the locals who want to 'save' the garden doesn't necessarily mean the price is irrationally high. I have to say that I do get tired of hearing Dan Hinkley idolized and George Ball vilified. Hinkley sold the place first, thus putting it at risk. And he didn't offer it to the local garden club at a bargain price for the enjoyment of all in perpetuity either.
     
  4. chuckrkc

    chuckrkc Active Member

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    Karin L makes a good point about the idolizing of Heronswoods' founders. Thanks for the link to Ball's comments. It makes sense that the closing and relocation wasn't the surprise it was made out to be.
     
  5. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member 10 Years

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    Agreed that there are generally two sides to every story, however, I think the closing was a shock and an unpleasant surprize to most fans of Heronswood (including the people who worked there), and that the resulting disappointment & responses were understandable. I think it should also be pointed out that in addition to dejected plant lovers, many of the people who have commented negatively are huge fans of the founders. Many even Know the previous owners personally or have taken classes taught by Mr. Hinkley. If you've ever heard Dan Hinkley speak or read any of his articles or books I think you understand why he is held in such high esteem.
     
  6. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    ... and anyone who's read his catalogues, as I do with great enjoyment, would also be so inclined. However, one must be rigorous in rooting out bias in oneself - at least I try to be. I bet that George Ball is no dishcloth in terms of personality either - he'd have had trouble running the company if he was; he no doubt also has personal friends and fans, and he wrote a good article. I think the main point is, however, that both of them can tell a dollar bill from a flower seed, and both obviously value the former above the latter.
     
  7. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member 10 Years

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    I wonder if many people really know enough about the sale, closing, or future plans for Heronswood to accurately speculate about motives.
     
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    G. Ball has made fairly regular statements to the press since the shutdown. A friend who works at a local nursery whipped out a newspaper article recently where G. is quoted as stately flatly that he bought Heronswood to get some of the plants they were offering, something I "speculated" was the case soon after the closure of the Kingston location.
     
  9. Laurie

    Laurie Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I am not sure that at least one of them values a dollar bill more than a flower seed, so to speak. I heard a friend who works at a local nursery describe an episode where he and D.H. were at his dining room table carefully separating the remaining seeds from very rare plants collected on a trip abroad, after the bulk of the seeds were confiscated at customs from the client, horticulturalist, or whomever he was travelling with. I am naive, yet understand that the nursery business is difficult, demanding so much time and energy, and allowing for little time away for travel and other pursuits. D.H. is now on the Board of the Arboretum Foundation of the University of Washington Botanical Gardens Washington Park Arboretum - a volunteer position.
     
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Ball inherited his postion, Hinkley created his. Both are doing what they think is appropriate and worthwhile. Heronswood was a small business, Ball has been working on the corporate level right from the start.
     
  11. chuckrkc

    chuckrkc Active Member

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    I miss the thought of Heronswood, which for me has included a sense of wonder and an openess to possibilities and excludes crass commercialism. Something about the mad pursuit of interesting plants sparked my interest and I will have to find that elsewhere. However, I think I will see more Heronswood offerings suitable for my Midwest garden thanks to the closing of the Kingston, Wash., operation.

    Ron, the $11 million price tag is only the start of what it would take to make the Heronswood property a public garden. It would need a significant endowment to keep it running (I think the UBS Botanical Garden budget would make me faint) and more impetus than just a “gosh, this was nice” feeling.

    Maybe Mr. Hinkley will recreate some of the Heronswood magic working with the University of Washington Botanical Gardens Washington Park Arboretum. They might have the money to do it.
     
  12. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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  13. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Definitely.
     
  14. chuckrkc

    chuckrkc Active Member

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    Great article. How did I miss it? From the article:

    "Mr. Hinkley agreed that the gardens should be preserved, but only if they have a purpose beyond nostalgia, such as serving as an educational resource. Otherwise, he said, 'I would much rather see the garden euthanized immediately than to see it decline over several years.' "

    The "purpose beyond nostalgia" is what I was getting at.
     
  15. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Assuming you mean UBC, you must mean you'd faint by how shoestring it is?
     
  16. chuckrkc

    chuckrkc Active Member

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    Be sure to see the Plant Delights cover. An 'homage" to Heronswood.
     
  17. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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  18. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member 10 Years

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  19. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    This just in (sorry a little late if you want to go today):

    Heronswood Fall Planting Open

    Rare plant sales & auctions plus FREE garden tours!

    Friday, September 8th
    10 AM to 5 PM

    Saturday, September 9th
    10 AM to 5 PM

    Lectures on both days!

    $5/person each day (benefits The Garden Conservancy)

    Fordhook Farm 105 New Britain Rd., Doylestown, PA 18901 215-674-4900 ext. 1401

    Follow this link for more information and directions:
    http://www.heronswood.com/opens.php
     
  20. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    This event was posted on the Heronswood web site some time ago.
     
  21. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member 10 Years

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  22. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Interested, yes, thank you. Impressed, no! He doth protesteth a little too much for my taste.
     

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