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The Explorer's Garden: Shrubs and Vines from the Four Corners of the World

By Daniel J. Hinkley

Photographs by Lynne Harrison and Daniel J. Hinkley

[Hinkley] traps us with his eloquent, spot-on descriptions as cleverly as a Dutchman's pipe bloom lures, traps, then releases its pollinators.

Houston Chronicle

If you thought the age of the great plant explorers was over, guess again. Dan Hinkley, founder of the legendary Heronswood Nursery, has scoured the globe for botanical treasures, a bounty that has enriched gardens throughout the world. He presents the most outstanding shrubs and vines from his plant-collecting trips to Chile, Costa Rica, South Africa, Japan, Korea, China, Vietnam, Nepal, Bhutan, India, New Zealand, Europe, and North America.

Explorers will encounter little-known exotics such as the sapphire-berried dichroas and vermilion-flowered Desfontainea spinosa (Chilean holly). The Explorer's Garden: Shrubs and Vines from the Four Corners of the World also includes more familiar, but just as garden-worthy, plants such as witch hazels, hydrangeas, and sassafras. In every case, Hinkley zeroes in on why the plant deserves your garden space and what you can expect as the plant matures. Excerpts from Hinkley's travel journals evoke the plant's native setting with poetic precision, painting seductive portraits of the monkey-puzzle forests of South America or the rhododendron-clad slopes of the Himalayas.

As this brimming collection makes clear, there are still scores of exciting plants that await wider use by the gardening public. Readers who yearn for an expert guide to this cornucopia of riches will find no better companion than Dan Hinkley.

Awards for this book: American Horticultural Society Book Award

Media reviews

"What sets Dan apart from the crowd is his understanding of how to grow plants well. His careful observations of plants in the wild give this book an edge and provide us with a better understanding of how to cultivate many of these wonderful shrubs and vines."

—Mat Reese, Gardens Illustrated

"Through his poetic writing, Hinkley's passion for discovering great plants and facilitating their introduction to mainstream horticulture is evident on each page. ... A must-have for plant collectors."

—Vincent Simeone, American Fuschia Society Bulletin

"A diverting read on chilly nights to come, when we can share, from a safe distance, Hinkley's "near-lunatic" passion for exotic plants and places."

—Maureen McCarthy, Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Hinkley ... addresses his plant-collection procedures and standards to assure readers he's taken pains to avoid introducing pests, diseases or invasive species."

—Mary Beth Breckenridge, Akron Beacon Journal

"[Hinkley] traps us with his eloquent, spot-on descriptions as cleverly as a Dutchman's pipe bloom lures, traps, then releases its pollinators."

—Kathy Huber, Houston Chronicle

"Hinkley is in the old breed of plant-hunter, one who hoofs about the globe with little more than a trowel and a trusty leather carry-all to hold his botanic treasures."

—Mary-Liz Shaw, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"The armchair traveler will relish the quotes from [Hinkley's] travel journal which introduce each chapter; the horticulturalist will be caught up in the text, which describes the origins and hybrids of an array of perennials."

SciTech Book News

"Scores of exciting plants still await wider use by gardeners, and The Explorer's Garden is a masterful guide to this cornucopia."

Michigan Gardener

About the author

Daniel J. Hinkley

Daniel J. Hinkley writes for numerous horticultural publications and is in high demand as a speaker throughout North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. He has been awarded the Scott Medal, the Liberty Hyde Bailey Award, and the Veitch Memorial Medal, among others. He serves as horticultural consultant to Monrovia Growers and to several design firms, including Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, Portico, and The Berger Partnership.

Read more about Daniel J. Hinkley

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