The sophisticated gardener is forever in search of distinctive new plants not commonly found in gardens. For these legions of enthusiasts, Dan Hinkley's Heronswood Nursery near Seattle has become something of a mail-order mecca in recent years. This book describes and illustrates the most interesting and garden-worthy perennials that the author has encountered in his many travels around the world hunting plants in the wild. The Explorer's Garden offers the reader a truly unique combination of experience and exuberance.
This is a fun read if you're into esoteric plants, although some of the genera that Hinkley talks about are starting to make their way into the gardening mainstream. He clearly loves plant hunting and his descriptions are marvelous. The only caveat is that one gets the impression that Hinkley is more of a botanist than a gardener at heart, and thus sometimes you might not share his fascination with a particular variety in terms of garden-worthiness. That said, I've read it twice in search of overlooked new plant possibilities!
The book is a treasure for those interested in rare and unusual perennials and explicit details from finding plants in the wild to hardiness,propagation & cultivation.An example: "Another thrill from my 1996 expedition was to observe Rodgersia sambucifolia growing in the wild along the eastern flank of the Chang Shan." Entertaining and educational.His 'garden',Heronswood Nursery, in Kingston,Washington is wonderful.