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Sam Decker

Articles: Sam Decker

Co-founded by Dan Hinkley and Robert Jones in 1987, Heronswood is a remarkable, and once famous botanical garden in the Pacific Northwest. Today, under the stewardship of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, a small gardening staff directed by Dan, and a dedicated cadre of volunteers, the garden is being rebirthed. Recently, Dan, Sam Decker, one of the garden’s keenest—and at 12-years-old certainly the youngest—volunteer, and Sam’s father, Dan, chatted around the kitchen table at Windcliff. The topic: Sam’s likes and dislikes, his goals and aspirations, and what it takes to be a good gardener.

Sam in the Decker family garden in Western Washington. Photo: Sarah Decker

A conversation between American plantsman Dan Hinkley and emerging horticulturist Sam Decker.

DH: Ok, Sam, I have come to know you as one of our most knowledgeable volunteers at Heronswood during the past three years. How did this passion you possess for horticulture begin?

SD: Well, I was born in Overland Park, Kansas, and I spent the first five years of my life there. But it was Kansas! You can’t grow anything there but what I think of as...


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