Teacher, writer, lecturer, consultant, nurseryman, naturalist, gardener.

Noted horticulture expert and plant explorer, Dan Hinkley, has had a lifelong interest in all types of plants from trees to edibles. Dan has introduced many new plants to our North American gardens and is well-known for developing and providing decades-long stewardship of Heronswood Garden. More recently, Dan and his partner, Robert Jones, created their personal showcase garden – Windcliff – overlooking the Salish Sea. His work takes on the challenges inherent in understanding and refining the processes of garden-making, increasingly with a focus on adapting to our changing climate. Beyond having vast knowledge, Dan is a truly charismatic speaker, developing a rapport with his audiences and inspiring a passion for plants.

"Gardening For Good"

In his keynote presentation, Gardening for Good, Dan will share observations on the trajectory of his own life as a gardener while asking the question of whether what he does and will do in his pursuit of a good garden has been a positive for this planet that we share or a negative. Through this self examination, it is his hope that all of us will recognize the small ways we can contribute to the benefit of the living systems that surround us while maintaining our marvel at what being a simple gardener can bring.

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 Widely-Traveled Plant Explorer

The foundations of Dan’s expertise can be found in his academic preparation, beginning with his Bachelor of Science degree in Ornamental Horticulture and Horticulture Education from Michigan State University (1976) and with earning a Master of Science in Urban Horticulture at the University of Washington (1985). His devotion to rare and unusual plants led Hinkley into the wilds of China, South and Central America, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Nepal, Vietnam, Taiwan, Sikkim, Bhutan, NE India, and Myanmar numerous times a year for the past 22 years. As a result of these exploration journeys, a great many of the nearly 3,000 plant species at Heronswood Garden were found and introduced by Dan; many now available at neighborhood nurseries, labeled as the Dan Hinkley Collection.     

Extensively Published Expert

Hinkley has written articles for a number of popular garden-related periodicals.  Among the many are Pacific Horticulture, Garden Design, Fine Gardening, Martha Stewart Living and Horticulture Magazine. He also has been featured in columns in Horticulture Magazine and the Seattle Times and has made a number of TV appearances over the years, including for Public Television’s NOVA productions and the Martha Stewart Living TV series.

Nationally and Internationally Recognized    

His award-winning books include Winter Ornamentals (1993), The Explorer's Garden: Rare and Unusual Perennials (1999) and The Explorer's Garden: Shrubs and Vines from the Four Corners of the World (2010) Dan’s most recent book, Windcliff: A Story of People, Plants and Gardens was released in early September 2020. In addition to these book awards, Dan has been recognized in the United States and internationally with many organizational awards including the Scott Arboretum Gold Medal from Swarthmore College, the Liberty Hyde Bailey Award from the American Horticultural Society, the Medal of Honor from the Garden Club of America, and the Royal Horticultural Society of Great Britain’s Veitch Memorial Medal for his outstanding contribution to the advancement of the science and practice of horticulture. 

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Public Garden Designer and Consultant  

Among Dan’s consulting and design projects are Heronswood Garden, the University of Washington President’s Mansion, the Washington Park Arboretum, the Amazon Spheres and the Kogod Courtyard at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. Dan continues to be a much sought-after speaker, presenting both nationally and locally, including in the Bellevue Botanical Garden’s lecture series.


Dan continues to evolve his 6.5 acres of garden at Windcliff (Indianola, WA) which includes an arboretum based entirely on his collection work of three decades, a large greenhouse, a generous potager and an experimental meadow. He tells us that his greatest life achievement is recently helping to preserve 5,000 acres of local forest land from development while creating the largest county park in North America in over 50 years.

Heronswood Garden

We are delighted to bring this inspiring gardener to the Workshop.