An intimate portrait of the Heronswood gardens


Editor's Note:  Columnist Jill Severn is taking the week off. Before she did, she sent us these comments, from reader Ellen Richter, who commented on last week's column, titled, "Heronswood and the Brotherhood of the Traveling Plants."

Heronswood doesn't seem to be an Olympia type of place.  Olympians seem to like things close, convenient, and, well, labeled.  That's why Heronswood is such a gem to me.  It takes a commitment to get there (plus a toll unless you want to drive the Shelton route), it's wild and worldly, and it's inclusive. 

Roxy, my labradoodle/maremma/heeler mix, and I attended HeronsWOOF 2 weeks ago.  We had a blast.  Doggie treats everywhere and the swag bag alone was worth the price of admission.  Memo to me, make an exception to carry cash or figure out Venmo because the vendors at special events are awesome.  Sometimes there's even fry bread.

But I digress from the plants.  The first time my grandson walked into the Woodland garden, perhaps late July/early August, he was overwhelmed.  He said he felt like he walked onto a movie set; so many flowering plants crowded around him.  The Woodland is my favorite garden and I don't mind the exploration, now made easier by improved paths and bridges, to the native plant garden or the walk across the parking lot to the Renaissance and Rock gardens.  The lumber camp theme is nostalgic and I feel it helps us come to terms with our past.  I've seen the biggest fern spores ever over there.

A lovely perennial border in Heronswood’s English garden
A lovely perennial border in Heronswood’s English garden

I'm all in favor of learning about plants, but I also enjoy meditating and knitting.  Pick your favorite spot at Heronswood and you can do either.   I plan to go with my grandson when he's here in July.  August is Hydrangea month.  There are spring and fall plant sales which I bypass because I live in an apartment and there are only so many containers you can have before your landlord goes ballistic. 

But my favorite will-not-miss event is Haunted Heronswood in mid October.  Put on your favorite (or most comfortable) costume and come see what it's all about.  My dog will be The Deer That Brought Fire this year.  Not sure what I'm going to come up with for a costume but I must remember to bring cash or Venmo because there will be lots of vendors who don't take plastic.

For me, Heronswood is more than a garden.  It's a place to just be.  I am comforted by the friendly volunteers and the inclusiveness of the plants.  It gives me hope and an idea of how the world could be.

          ~ Ellen Richter, Olympia

The opinions expressed above are those of the writer and not necessarily those of  The JOLT's staff or board of directors.  You're free to post your response below.  Otherwise, if you have something to say about a topic of interest to Thurston County residents, send it to us, and we’ll most likely publish it. See the Contribute your news button at the top of every page.  


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  • PegGerdes

    I was intrigued when I read Jill Severn's account of Heronswood - now it is a MUST GO! Thank you.

    Tuesday, June 25 Report this