Hawai`i October Scene

Magazines are full of beautiful pictures showing colored leaves of autumn, featuring spicy pumpkin recipes, and people bundled up in flannel shirts. I become a little envious because I remember those days so well.

I experienced true autumn in Southern Illinois where I spent the first eighteen years of my life. Since my birthday came at the end of September, we had one family tradition to celebrate it. Mother would make a maple chiffon cake and whip up some ham salad sandwiches for us to take on a picnic in the woods near our town.

We would trudge through crunchy autumn leaves into a forested area to spread out an old tablecloth under the trees. It seems like I recall this happening every year. But maybe it really only happened once. Funny thing, memories!

So here I am, reminiscing about those crisp fall days, even though I really do prefer my year-round moderate Hawai`ian climate now.

This feels like a good time to bring you up to date on where some of my own plants are in their process of growing.

The picture that opens up this post shows a birthday gift from a special friend. I couldn’t have asked for anything better!! It’s just right for me to handle and get over some of the lava.

I’ll start out with my protea. They were badly damaged during the heaviest episode of sulfur dioxide. I was going to pull them up and toss them, but just this morning I discovered a new shoot coming out of one of the stalks. It’s only a tiny sprig of green, but I’m happy to see it. It will be interesting to see just what develops. You can see the “burn” from the SO2.

Here’s another example of the type of damage my protea suffered. One banksia seemed to do well.

This one doesn’t look healthy at all.

The coconut palm is growing slowly. Between the wind and the sulfur dioxide damage, I’m surprised it is surviving. But strong fronds are showing.

Here is one last pink blossom on my plumeria. She’s hanging on for dear life! You can also see some sulfur dioxide damage on these leaves, but overall, the plumeria didn’t suffer as much as other plants.

In June, I showed my tiny lilikoi seedlings. Here they are three months later, reaching out for the fishing line to climb up the side of the shed. I need to add more line to give them support as they grow.

The purple lilikoi is showing growth, too. It’s well over my head, but there are no blooms yet.

Recently, I planted some Hawai`ian pepper seeds that I’d picked up at the Seed Exchange in June. Out of the ones I planted, this lone plant has finally sprouted. I think I should have started them in a different way. I had planted them directly into a raised bed.


I’ve been given a number of new plants recently and they are showing signs of new growth. Here is one of the calendula plants that has already started to multiply. Perhaps you can see the flower buds on the right. The fallen ohia leaves help to give a little feeling of autumn.

I was given these Japanese iris just about the same time I planted the calendula. They are looking fairly good. You can see a fading plumeria in the back. Plumeria loses leaves over the winter in my piece of Hawai`i, but by spring they will be back in full bloom.

There are other plants I’ve picked up from friends in the past few weeks. All of them seem to be surviving. Here are a couple of them from two different gardens. The larger one is a geranium and it’s doing nicely. The tiny plant struggling behind the geranium is from a plant in Carole Baker’s yard. I think it’s the dauphine violet, but I’m not quite sure. When it’s bigger, I’ll check with her.

Another plant I was given is this Summer Poinsettia (Amaranthus tricolor Perfecta). It’s not to be confused with our regular Christmas Poinsettia (Euphorbia Pulcherrima), which I will be showing pictures of nearer to Christmas time.

This small cutting of the native yellow hibiscus is taking off nicely! The maʻo hau hele is the state flower of Hawaiʻi.

I will soon be putting this cute little succulent in a place where it can spread out. It is known as a “panda plant,” or Kalanchoe tomentosa. This plant is also called panda-bear plant, or pussy-ears plant.

Even as our “summer” comes to an end, there are several beautiful orchids opening up for me. This is one of my favorites.

A few others are also blooming and peeking through.

A few weeks ago, I bought a beautiful fuchsia plant to hang in my entryway. I think the reason it didn’t cost so much was because it had started to get very leggy. I’ve trimmed it back to encourage more fullness, but there was one solitary blossom giving me a last bit of color.

Until next week, Lava Lily says “Keep making compost!”

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