"World-famous Heronswood Nursery Closes"

Discussion in 'Conversations Forum' started by Daniel Mosquin, May 31, 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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    Story also on front page of today's Seattle Times.
     
  3. chuckrkc

    chuckrkc Active Member

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    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 1, 2006
  4. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Arggggh! I wonder if they're still taking orders?? I'm going to fire one in.
     
  5. Weekend Gardener

    Weekend Gardener Active Member 10 Years

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    I doesn't matter if Burpee continues to use the Heronswood name. The catalogue, and the whole business around the famous name, will never be the same without the gardens at Heronswood. Poor Dan - he must feel pretty awful at this point in time.
     
  6. chuckrkc

    chuckrkc Active Member

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    I was hoping to hear about some personal experiences with Hinkley and Jones and the Heronswood clan or about visits to the garden there. What did it meant to you? Any takers? What was it you were hoping to get from Heronswood, Karin? (I bet the mail order business is still in operation even if things are in flux with it for a few months.)
     
  7. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Well the website did process my order, so let's hope your bet is right.

    As for what Heronswood meant to me, I would have to admit that I'm not so much into idolatry of various mecca-type sites and so it matters less to me that the garden is "there" than that I can get the plants - for collectors, it's all about the acquisition I'm afraid. But I did go to Heronswood a few years ago on a Vancouver Hardy Plant Group trip and it was lovely - before the sale to Burpee, come to think of it. To think of it being lost to horticulture or becoming inaccessible is a painful thought.

    And being of practical mind, for collectors to be able to get their plants, the garden has to be there! My guess is, you can't be propagating everything all the time, and some things will fall out of trade if there is not a mother plant within the operation. It being Zone 8 around here, I doubt that the gardens can be reproduced in PA. And since the fern I wanted is definitely Zone 8, and I really haven't found it for sale anywhere else, I thought this might be a time-limited opportunity.

    I also wanted a few dwarf conifers. I"ll let you know if I get them!
     
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Try THE PLANT LOCATOR - WESTERN REGION. A few BC suppliers participated.
     
  9. bcgift52

    bcgift52 Active Member

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    Ah well it's not the first time the big guns buy out the competition and take them apart piecemeal and I do feel for the original owners having their lifetime labour of love dismantled but then again I'm sure they were handsomely paid for the pain. One of my favourite plants is Tiarella Heronswood Mist and if they shut down the website, I'm definitely going to miss the wealth of information and insight into plants they have provided me for several years.
     
  10. chuckrkc

    chuckrkc Active Member

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    Idolatry. Well, myself it is difficult to be as charmed with a big mail-order operation. I have plenty of those catalogs coming to the door. I miss the idea of the place, the idea of something special and idiosyncratic out there.

    KarinL, both you bcgift52 help make Burpee President George Ball's point about the change. He says Pennsylvania is closer climatically than a Pacific Northwest nursery to what most of the country's gardeners must contend with.

    Also, Tiarrella wherryii 'Heronswood Mist' might be a good example of what Burpee can do with the Heronswood collection. It seems to be everywhere this year, big box stores and garden centers alike. What plants that are offered may get cheaper.

    Sadness for Heronswoods' founders: Yes, but also think about them sipping wine and antiquing with Martha Stewart. It is a fine way to get over the grief, maybe?
     
  11. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    New opening of "Heronswood/Fordhook" next month to feature M. Dirr speaking about hydrangeas. Meanwhile, Roslyn nursery is closing. Region is losing one, gaining another.
     
  12. chuckrkc

    chuckrkc Active Member

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    From Garden Watchdog, it seems Roslyn struggled in recent years. Did you find some interesting things there?
     
  13. chuckrkc

    chuckrkc Active Member

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    From an article in the Kitsap Sun, by Julie McCormick:

    "Both Hinkley and Ball indicated that there have been differences over Heronswood’s catalogue, revamped this year with only 250 plants offered and full of bright, colorful pictures like most standard offerings from giant retailers.

    "Hinkley called it a dumbing down that talked down to Heronswood’s core customer base. Ball said the old one read like a textbook."

    I am dying for more dumbing down, I tell you.

    Later in the Kitsap Sun article:

    "Hinkley said he’s working on two books and will continue to travel and look for plants.

    "The only part of the collection he owns, he said, are the gleanings from his most recent trips to India and the Himalayas.

    "As for every fan’s burning question, 'At this point I have no intention of starting another nursery,"' he said."


    That's it. I didn't mean to whip a dead horse.
     
  14. Laurie

    Laurie Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I was so sad when I heard that Western Hills Rare Plants in Occidental, CA was sold and closed, but was so thankful that the year before we had a chance to at least briefly see the garden. Now part of the sadness I feel is for the 19 people at Heronswood who were told that they had no job at the end of the day, the seven others who were told they had no job after a few weeks of packing up, and so disappointed that we never saw the garden.
     
  15. chuckrkc

    chuckrkc Active Member

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    Sundquist Nursery (www.sqnursery.com) lays the closing of Heronswood at the feet of the aging Baby Boomer generation.

    Nils Sundquist says "The Boomers' demand for new and different plants was enough to cover the costs of growing the business as well as planting extraordinary gardens. But the Boomers' demographic bubble began to deflate as they turned fifty."

    The boomers are spending less on their gardens and so don't support operations like Heronswood anymore. That sounds ominous for the industry.
     
  16. Daniel Mosquin

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

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    Direct link to the opinion page cited in the previous post.
     
  17. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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  18. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    As to whether you can still order, an email I received today from Heronswood General Info: "We are taking orders through June 26th for shipment by June 28th. After that, you can order products via the website, but orders will not ship until mid September."
     

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