Cover image for The explorer's garden : rare and unusual perennials
The explorer's garden : rare and unusual perennials
Hinkley, Daniel J.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Portland, Or. : Timber Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
380 pages : color illustrations, color map ; 28 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
SB434 .H56 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

On Order



Dan Hinkley's quest for distinctive plants has led him on expeditions to China, Korea, Nepal, Chile, and remote areas of North America. The Explorer's Garden: Rare and Unusual Perennials presents the most fascinating perennials found during Hinkley's treks around the globe, describes the assets each plant brings to the garden, and explains how it is best cultivated and propagated.

Illustrated with Hinkley's own splendid photographs as well as those of Lynne Harrison, this new paperback edition includes a new preface by the author and a completely updated list of sources for plant material.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Hinkley, an exhilarating garden writer, is also a modern-day plant explorer who frequently treks to remote realms in pursuit of plant species to grow, propagate, and introduce to the world of gardening. At his Heronswood Nursery outside Seattle (a mecca attracting keen gardeners from near and far), the private gardens and lushly landscaped display gardens allow visitors firsthand encounters with a surprising array of praiseworthy plants growing in breathtaking splendor. Now in his own inimitable style, Hinkley sets pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, as the case may be) to discuss the merits of a wide range of garden-worthy perennials. Graced by the author's formidable knowledge of botany, the book promises to satisfy the most demanding tendencies of today's gardeners with remarkably evocative portraits of rare and wonderful species, accompanied by glorious color photographs. Tackling the topic at hand with unequaled capability, Hinkley offers detailed cultivation advice on a vast number of alluring specimens to thrill and delight the fancies of garden lovers. --Alice Joyce

Choice Review

Plant explorer, nurseryman, photographer, and connoisseur par excellence of the rare, unusual, and undercultivated in the world of herbaceous perennials, Hinkley has written a delightful and very informative book. He shares with the reader his enthusiasm and excitement in first encountering a sought-after plant in its native habitat. Furthermore, the gardener is then offered experience-derived advice on hardiness, cultivation conditions, and propagation methods of these same species. The plants described are grouped by families and may not be easily found for purchase, but an extensive list of mail order sources should be of considerable help. Uncommon but striking species, whether in foliage or flower and whether from Asia, Europe, North or South America, are presented with descriptions that convey why they have so thoroughly charmed the author. Many beautifully printed color photographs are an additional, powerful attraction for the reader. A thorough glossary, bibliography, and index of plant names complete the book. Highly recommended for any library's horticultural section. General readers; faculty; professionals. L. G. Kavaljian; California State University, Sacramento



Few gardeners who have cultivated the edible rhubarb (Rheum xcultorum) can deny that they have admired the columns of white flowers unfurling in globular splendor in early summer. But homage to such things in the vegetable garden is generally bittersweet, often but a swan song of yet another spring gone by -- the end to a season of freshly picked and eaten produce. As a young gardener, in fact, I was taught to never let the blossoming stems emerge from our rather antique hand-me-down clump of "pie plant" that we grew on the far side of the vegetable patch. Advice well taken but, fortunately, not always heeded. I only recently began growing true Rheum palmatum, a species native to China and, in its typical white-flowered form, infrequently cultivated. Having brought this back from a collecting foray to England, I use the plant to good effect in my light woodland, where it produces gigantic, Gunnera -like foliage in matte green and erect flowering panicles of white rising to 6 ft. (1.8 m) or higher. Certainly the best-known of the ornamental rhubarbs is this species's red-flowering cultivar, R. palmatum 'Atrosanguineum'. With a flair for the dramatic, 'Atrosanguineum' awakens in early spring with ruby-red foliage, which conjures nothing short of pure, unadulterated anticipation for what is to come. As the jagged leaves unfurl to nearly 3 ft. (0.9 m) across, the reddish tints of the upper surfaces take on a patina of aged copper, while the undersurfaces retain an intensity of matte rose-red. I am held spellbound in the early days of May when the fresh, upwardly held leaves, backlit by sun, capture and illuminate a palette of arresting colors and textures. Yet the show has only just begun, as in early June a massive flowering stem heads skyward, carrying large, knobby buds sheathed with scarlet bracts. After the stems reach upward to 7 ft. (2.1 m), the buds unfurl to create an airy spectacle of crimson flowers with cerise overtones. If good seed set occurs, an additional season of interest continues with numerous glossy red, triangular fruit dangling from this treelike inflorescence, Several other selected cultivars of R. palmatum are available, including 'Red Herald' and 'Hadspen Crimson' (both by Eric Smith) and 'Red Select'. I should mention that the distinctive foliage shape and color is more a product of patience than of simply acquiring a good clone. Foliage on young plants is less lobed and less colorful than on mature specimens. Excerpted from The Explorer's Garden: Rare and Unusual Perennials by Daniel J. Hinkley All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Roy Lancasterp. 9
Prefacep. 13
Acknowledgmentsp. 19
Introductionp. 21
Chapter 1 Woodland Ranunculids: Anemone, Anemonella, Anemonopsis, Ranunculus, Trollius, and Glaucidiump. 27
Chapter 2 On the Vine: The Climbing Aconitesp. 54
Chapter 3 Berries and Bugbanes: Actaea, Beesia, and Cimicifugap. 60
Chapter 4 Hepatica: Liverworts and Island Treasuresp. 76
Chapter 5 Beyond Frilly Filler: The Genus Thalictrump. 85
Chapter 6 Berberidaceous Botanyp. 94
Chapter 7 Corydalis: Jewels in Many Huesp. 124
Chapter 8 Woodland Poppiesp. 137
Chapter 9 Rheums with a View: The Ornamental Rhubarbsp. 152
Chapter 10 Cuckoo for Cardamine: Cardamine, Pachyphragma, and Wasabiap. 164
Chapter 11 Triosteump. 176
Chapter 12 The Herbaceous Araliasp. 180
Chapter 13 The Ubiquitous Umbellifersp. 184
Chapter 14 Herbaceous Hydrangeas: Cardiandra, Deinanthe, and Kirengeshomap. 200
Chapter 15 Singular Saxifrages: Chrysosplenium, Mukdenia, and Peltoboykiniap. 208
Chapter 16 Bodacious Bounty: Rodgersia and Darmerap. 216
Chapter 17 The Prickly Rhubarbs: Gunnerap. 226
Chapter 18 The Lesser Lathyrusp. 233
Chapter 19 Far and Away from 'Johnson's Blue': The Hardy Geraniumsp. 241
Chapter 20 Shrieking Solanoids: Mandragora and Scopoliap. 259
Chapter 21 Starry Charms: Omphalodes and Myosotidiump. 264
Chapter 22 Comely Composites: Syneilesis and Ainsliaeap. 271
Chapter 23 Birthworts and Wild Gingers: Asarum and Sarumap. 276
Chapter 24 Enchanting Jacks: Arisaema and Pinelliap. 288
Chapter 25 The Wooded Lilies: Fairy Bells and Solomon's Sealsp. 308
Chapter 26 Gargantuan Lilies: The Genus Cardiocrinump. 342
Chapter 27 Boggy Beauties: Helonias and Heloniopsisp. 346
Chapter 28 Paris in the Springtime: The Genera Paris, Trillidium, and Scoliopusp. 348
U.S.D.A. Hardiness Zone Mapp. 359
Mail-Order Sources of Plant Materialp. 360
Glossaryp. 363
Bibliographyp. 367
Indexp. 369