About Heronswood Garden

Mission Statement

People depend on plants. The Heronswood Garden seeks to inspire our community with its plant collections and charismatic landscapes, to educate them on the connections between plants and people, to encourage them to protect plants and their natural habitats, and to appreciate the great diversity of plants and the people who care for them.

The Heronswood Garden began in 1987 and comprises 15 acres in Western Washington’s Kitsap County. Heronswood protects a vast array of plants from around the world, with over 8,000 different varieties spread across six distinct yet integrated gardens. Purchased by the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe in 2012, Heronswood now serves as a showcase for tribal culture and operates under the auspices of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

Our People

Heronswood Garden staff

Dr. Ross Bayton
Job : Garden Director
Started : December 2017
Home : Scotland
Favorite Plant or Place : I love the Rock Garden, as I’m drawn to the small, delicate and intricate, plus I love hiking in the mountains, one of the reasons I love living in Washington State.  

Rizaniño ‘Riz’ Reyes
Job : Assistant Director
Started : May 2022
Home : Central Luzon, Philippines
Favorite Plant or Place : My favorite plant is the giant lily,  Cardiocrinum giganteum , as it’s one of the plants at Heronswood that I was excited to also see in the wild when I studied in China.

Debby Purser
Job : Volunteer Coordinator, Gardener 2
Started : December 2016
Home : PGST Reservation
Favorite Plant or Place : The S’Klallam Connections gardens as I’m learning so much about plants and my culture at the same time. I’m proud to have brought soapberry back to the Strong People.

Bernie Folz
Job : Gardener 1
Started : April 2015
Home : PGST Reservation
Favorite Plant or Place : I like the Woodland Garden Folly, as I used to eat lunch there and always feel relaxed there. It’s changed at lot over the years, as we developed the area, but I still love it.

Matt Jevnikar
Job : Gardener 3
Started : April 2019
Home : Ohio
Favorite Plant or Place : I’ve developed a soft spot for native North American grasses, plus I also enjoy seasonal changes in the Perennial Borders, especially when the  Dierama are in bloom.

Duane West
Job : Contract Gardener
Started : April 1989
Home : Sequim, WA
Favorite Plant or Place : The Potager of course! My favorite plant is a chimera, as it changes from week to week, depending on my mood. Whatever it is, you can bet it’s far out!

Olivia Bidtah 

Olivia Bidtah

Job  : Gardener 1  
Started  : October 2021  
Home  : PGST Reservation  
Favorite Plant or Place  : The raised bed outside the Ticket Office is a favorite of mine as no matter the time of year, there’s always something interesting blooming there.

Dan Hinkley
Job : Director Emeritus
Started : April 1987
Home : Michigan 
Favorite Plant or Place : Some gardens, in some locations, are simply meant to be.  The acreage at Heronswood wants to be a garden. It can be seen in how the plants grow, how people react to the landscape while they visit, the peace one feels after leaving.  What Robert and I did beginning in 1987 is simply reveal a garden that was already there.

Irina Fox

Job  : Heronswood Business Manager  
Started  : March 2024  
Home  : Kingston, WA  
Favorite Plant or Place  : I love the Formal Gardens and especially the arbor. Not only is it a relaxing and peaceful spot, but I used to work at Heronswood weddings, so this area has many fond memories!

James Streun
Job : Maintenance Lead
Started : October 2022
Home : PGST Reservation
Favorite Plant or Place : I really appreciate the S’Klallam Connections Garden, as it allows us to grow and provide resources for our people, such as camas, sweet-grass and cedar bark.

Nate Swift
Job : Maintenance & Custodial
Started : March 2023
Home : PGST Reservation 
Favorite Plant or Place : I love the Potager! My Mom got married there in 2014 and so it holds a lot of happy memories for me.

Marcus McLean
Job  : Events  Maintenance   
Started  : March 2024   
Home  : Washington State   
Favorite Plant or Place  : I'm fond of the pink camellias along the driveway in the Woodland Garden. I like bright colors that stand out and hopefully I can grow some camellias like these in my own garden. 

Port Gamble S’Klallam Foundation staff

Andrea Dolan-Potter
Job : Foundation Executive Director
Started : December 2019
Home : Kitsap County, WA
Favorite Plant or Place : My favorite spot is the Renaissance Garden, with its lush ferns, cedars, and the peaceful ambience of nature slowly reclaiming and transforming an old lumber camp.

Erin Lanum
Job : Development Associate
Started : March 2022
Home : North Kitsap, WA
Favorite Plant or Place : I’m partial to ferns, especially the giants of the Woodland and Renaissance Gardens. I also have a special interest in native or naturalized medicinal plants, from the weedy lowlanders to the potent subalpine/alpine species.

Sue Mitchell  
Job :  Accounting Associate
Started : December 2022
Home : Poulsbo, WA
Favorite Plant or Place : I really enjoy the Woodland and Renaissance Gardens for the multiple varieties of ferns and the giant cedars in the latter.

Shelby Nelson 

Shelby Nelson

Job  : Events Coordinator  
Started  : May 2023  
Home  : Kingston, WA  
Favorite Plant or Place  : I love walking through the arbor in every season. It reminds of my favorite childhood book,    The Secret Garden  ,   by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

The Port Gamble S’Klallam Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has as an important part of its work the restoration and maintenance of Heronswood Garden. In partnership with Heronswood’s management team, the Foundation coordinates fundraising efforts, membership activities and special events that benefit the garden, including the seasonal Plant Sale & Garden Opens and lectures.

Visit the Port Gamble S’Klallam Foundation Website