A Garden Surprise

My garden has suffered from too much neglect this fall. A friend in Hilo gifted me some “old” unwanted plants. One was a pot of orchids that seriously needed to be divided. I’ve been trying to remember to nurture them along until I could do something with them. I have managed to sprinkle them with a little water from time to time, so they have survived (barely).

One morning as I was leaving for school, this is what I saw. Not only that, but there are four more spikes about ready to open up anytime. What a delightful surprise!

I have no idea what variety they are, so if someone knows, please let me know. Now that I have seen how beautiful they are, and as soon as they have finished their blooming, I’ll divide them and get them into my “orchid patch” under the ohia tree.

A hui hou!

Hawai`ian Flowers, Part 2

Last weeks’s post showed the color and drama orchids can bring to your trees. This week, I give you a tour of the inner workings of Hawaiian Flowers.

Marla has a small gift shop attached to the greenhouses where you can browse.

Walking from the gift shop into the greenhouses, you instantly realize you are in the tropics, and you want to take home one of each variety!

Many years ago, I took all the horticulture courses offered by Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The smells and sights of greenhouses and workrooms bring back memories of that time. So for me, those are still the most exciting areas of any commercial enterprise.

The results from TLC and perfect growing conditions, however, also bring a particular kind of joy, as you will see in this slide show of Marla’s orchids in full bloom.

A hui hou!

Hawai`ian Flowers

In the part of the world where I grew up, an orchid meant you had a special date to the high school prom. And it was a big deal!

Now I live where orchids are grown everywhere and can become as rampant as weeds, yet I still am in awe at the abundance of plants and where they can grow. Maybe you are, too.

Just a couple miles from my home is Hawaiian Flowers, an incredible orchid farm that grew from a small hobby into a large facility. She claims it is the “Southernmost Orchid Farm in the US.” You can find her on Facebook as Hawaiian.Flowers. (Be sure to put the period between Hawaiian and Flowers!)

When our garden club went to visit, we walked through the acreage surrounding Marla’s home as well as through the greenhouses where she grows some of the most beautiful orchids you will ever see.

This slide show demonstrates how lush an orchid can grow in your trees. You might want to try this if you live in an area where there is no frost any time of the year. I bought a few from her and will try to recreate the same sort of garden.

Next week I’ll show more of the flowers, but this week I wanted to show you just how easy it is to grow orchids wherever the climate permits.
A hui hou!

Shades of Green

Living on an acre of lava that offers many shades of black and gray, I might quote the Muppets and say, “It’s not easy being green.” I forget what it means to be green.

Friends from the mainland came to visit and were amazed at my catchment system, and for the first time, I had an inkling of just how “green” we live here in Ocean View. I know my friends in California think they are being “green” when they put in a 100 gallon rain barrel. It’s no wonder they are in awe of my 15,000 gallon tank! Still, our planet appreciates every 100 gallons saved.

So much of what we grow and eat here goes through its green stage, like these bananas before they turn yellow . . .

. . . or the coffee berries before they turn cherry red.

Herbs in all shades of green stand close to my kitchen door.

Fresh corn and other veggies offer more shades of green.

Then we have fruits – the enormous jackfruit. . .

. . . and wonderful limes.

I love cooking up a mess of fresh greens from my garden . . .

. . . or a pan of this brilliant green chard.

There are so many places where shades of green forms a spectacular frame, like this scene from Kauai.

Mostly green forms a background to other colors of Hawaii. . .

. . . or for our sensational orchids, and other flowers.

St. James Park in London provides another backdrop for early spring flowers.

Our Hawai`ian fauna also comes in shades of green. There is the florescent green of the Jackson. . .

. . .and the dark almost black green of the sea turtles.

The stately ti plants are considered good luck when planted around your home.

The green lotus leaves create a sense of serenity and peace.

The many pictures of green in my albums would fill a few coffee table books, each one another category of my life. This is only a small sampling of my green pictures. Beyond the visual green, there is a lot of symbolism to be found in the color green. I think I’d better reserve that for a future post!

A hui hou!

A Pink Birthday Party!

 

Every year on my birthday, I do something a little special on this blog in honor of myself. This year, I’m taking myself back to a “little girl in pink” with a trip to the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Honolulu.

For the past twelve years, always over Labor Day weekend, I have gone to the Hawaii Writers Conference. Until three years ago, it was held on Maui and known internationally as the “Maui Writers Conference.” Then they began holding it on Oahu where there were hotels who would handle the volume of people who came, and the name changed to “Hawaii Writers Conference.”

This year, it was held at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, well-known for its pink décor. Everything is designed around the theme of “pink.” And no matter where you are, you can see the pink hotel! This shot was taken from my window at the Princess Kaiulani Hotel, a block away. It almost looks artificial and Disneyesque among the modern hotels of Waikiki.

 

No matter what view you have of the Royal Hawaiian, it is always a distinctive pink.

 

And when you look toward the beach, there is a sea of pink umbrellas, actually quite colorful against the blue of the ocean and the sky.

 

There are pink columns, with pink flowers in the floral arrangements standing before them. Even though most of these tropical flowers last quite a while, someone comes around to redo all the arrangements with fresh flowers periodically.

 

I loved walking down this pink corridor with its display of Phaleonopsis orchids.

 

Here is a close up of one of the Phaleonopsis orchids. Even though they were white, they appear pink against the strong pink of the columns.

 

Tucked everywhere on tables or in corners, you will find little touches of pink in the floral arrangements.

 

Even the shops displayed their wares against pink walls, or in pink jewelry boxes. The dolls were made of pink sequins. I didn’t get the pink walls behind these silver and sequined shells but they were there.

 

One room showed an example of what to expect if you arranged for them to serve a special dinner for you and special guests, or just that special someone – and of course, all in pink! Very romantic, if you are into that sort of setting!

 

The pink theme is evident even when you are walking around the gardens outside the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.

PINK GINGER
PINK GINGER

 

PINK HIBISCUS
PINK HIBISCUS

 

WHITE HIBISCUS WITH PINK CENTER
WHITE HIBISCUS WITH PINK CENTER

 

Even if not the true pink you find in most of the hotel, some plants either looked pink or were in the same color value, like red or lavender.

RED GINGER
RED GINGER

 

LAVENDAR ORCHIDS
LAVENDAR ORCHIDS

 

RED TI PLANT
RED TI PLANT

 

Although I’m typically not a “pink person,” I had loads of fun taking pictures of all the “pink” at the hotel. I hope you enjoyed my “birthday pink” celebration!

A hui hou!

August 2009 Update

8-22-09 August Catch up
GARDEN CLUBBERS
GARDEN CLUBBERS

(photo courtesy of Charles Tobias)

 

The July meeting of our Ocean View Garden Club was at my place. I told them I was definitely a work in progress and not a show place (yet)! They all wanted to see what was growing on my acre because they’d read my blog and seeing a garden that was not finished gave them hope. This post is my monthly catch-up with what’s going on here.

At my front door is this hanging fuschia.

 

Just below that is my cluster of orchid plants. Here is the latest bloom poking a head through the leaves.

 

As I stand on my front stoop and look out, this is what I see.

 

Here it is when I step down and look at these plants from another angle.

 

These are the Atom Gladiolas. The description from Old House Gardens states that it is a “brilliant red cooled by the finest edging of silver.” They are smaller than most glads and they provide a bright spot of color against my gray/black lava.

 

I cropped out the Spic and Span Glad from one of the photos above so you could see the difference in color. This is closer to the normal size of gladiola and runs from coral to pink. Both the Atom and the Spic/Span glads are heirloom bulbs dating from 1946. It’s too bad that the blooms don’t last longer.

 

Let’s walk on around to the right side of the house and look at my small beds of veggies. The sugar snap peas are full of blooms, and I’ve gotten a few pods to add to salads. You can see a piece of my patch of mustard greens.

 

I have several of these Thai hot peppers that will give me something to toss into my hot Thai cooking! If you’ve seen the little firey hot peppers in a Thai dish, that’s what I have here. It takes a mighty brave soul to bite into those with haste!

 

One of my students gave me a pot with a macadamia nut seedling. I was afraid it wouldn’t make it at first, but suddenly new leaves started to shoot out. I’ll give it a fair chance to make it before I transfer it out of the pot.

 

Walking back toward the shed, I have arugula and tomatoes, string beans and okra. I’m making salads with the arugula, but the tomatoes only have blooms so far. There are a few tiny beans that are in the process of becoming bigger beans. Here are a few pods of okra I’ve harvested. I toss a few of these in with whatever I’m cooking up in the skillet.

 

In the patio area I have beets growing, but not as many as I’d like to see. I need to buy more seeds for a fresh planting. These coffee berries will eventually turn bright red and I’ll be able to harvest them. How exciting to see these green berries. I hope I can get a pot of coffee out of my own trees.

 

Here is the Little Beeswings Dahlia that produced a few small blooms.

 

I think my favorite dahlia is the Prince Noir. I hope that eventually I’ll get a whole bush full of these gorgeous blooms.

 

Recently, a colleague gave me several bags of bromeliad and one has actually bloomed for me already!

 

Of course, I would love a whole yard of daylilies. Some of the ones I’ve planted have started to bloom.

 

The pikake plant is full of fragrant blossoms, about three times the number just since I took this photo a couple weeks ago.

 

I was given a small shoot of this plant. People have given it several names, but after looking on the internet, I’m still not sure what it is. If anyone can give me a link to what it is, I’d appreciate it. It’s been called a “stick plant,” but I’m sure that’s not it. It has also been called “zigzag plant,” but it doesn’t look exactly like the pictures on the web.

 

It seems like there’s always something waiting to be planted – like these bags of plants given by a friend.

 

And like most gardeners, I have so much more to be done. Like any addict, I keep buying more seeds than I’ll ever be able to plant!

A hui hou!

 

Shangri-La Hawai`i Style

PARADISE POND
click here for larger image
PARADISE POND

What a delight to find this garden in the middle of a lava field! Anything I could say about this Hawaiian Shangri-La would be superfluous. In fact, there was so much to see here that I will divide Bob Elhard’s work of art into two posts. Today I will concentrate on the floral and landscape. Next week, I will focus on his yard sculptures.

ENTRY PATIO
click here for larger image
ENTRY PATIO

The entry into this piece of paradise would have been enough for me, but it just kept going. Here he created a place to relax with a cup of coffee, to greet friends, and admire the growth around him.

ENTRY PAVILLION
click here for larger image
ENTRY PAVILLION

Steps from his entry patio lead into other mysteries.

STONE STEPS
click here for larger image
STONE STEPS

A variety of colors and textures dominate the entire entry area.

COLORS AND TEXTURES IN PATIO
click here for larger image
COLORS AND TEXTURES IN PATIO

MORE OF ENTRY PATIO
click here for larger image
MORE OF ENTRY PATIO

Here is a broader view of what you can expect as you first walk into his property.

BROAD VIEW OF ENTRY
click here for larger image
BROAD VIEW OF ENTRY

Because I have traveled in Japan so many times, Bob’s use of the typical red Japanese bridges was intriguing. He has built several throughout his property to lead you on to more corners and vistas.

JAPANESE BRIDGE
click here for larger image
JAPANESE BRIDGE

Orchids are tucked into all sorts of out-of-the-way spots to help soften the lava. Madam Pele would be proud!

ORCHIDS
click here for larger image
ORCHIDS

ORCHIDS
click here for larger image
ORCHIDS

ORCHIDS
click here for larger image
ORCHIDS

ORCHIDS
click here for larger image
ORCHIDS

ORCHIDS
click here for larger image
ORCHIDS

This is a lovely example of a plant I’m trying to nurture in my own yard. Mine are small and haven’t flowered yet, but I can hardly wait!

DATURA
click here for larger image
DATURA

It would be difficult for me to say which was my favorite spot in Bob’s garden, but I think I’d have to say it’s this back yard retreat. The opening photo gives another view. Here is still another of the beautiful bridges.

POND PARADISE
click here for larger image
POND PARADISE

One of the petals from the jade vine hanging over the pond had dropped into the water at my feet, reminding me of similar simple scenes in Japan.

JADE VINE PETAL
click here for larger image
JADE VINE PETAL

The donkey tails hanging around the pond were the longest I’ve ever seen and were almost surreal.

MORE POND PARADISE
click here for larger image
MORE POND PARADISE

The one in the foreground isn’t nearly as long as the one you can see across the pond.

DONKEY TAILS
click here for larger image
DONKEY TAILS

We live in an area that struggles for every drop of water. Even so, Bob has managed to create a luxurious effect with the water he gathers. He has arranged his water lines in such a way that even the rain running off the driveway is utilized to fill his pond and other water features, like this waterfall.

WATERFALL
click here for larger image
WATERFALL

Walking from one garden area to another, we passed through a glassed in porch. I couldn’t resist taking a shot of this gorgeous Christmas cactus.

CHRISTMAS CACTUS
click here for larger image
CHRISTMAS CACTUS

A different kind of beauty was found in Bob’s veggie garden. And of course, another Japanese bridge! You can see his chicken coop in the background, but I’ve decided to do a separate post soon on the wonderful array of chicken coops my friends have. You’ll get a closer view of Bob’s great coops then.

VEGETABLE GARDEN
click here for larger image
VEGETABLE GARDEN

We were all invited to pull up some of his veggies to take home. Here is a shot of what I pulled up to bring home!

BIG CARROTS
click here for larger image
BIG CARROTS

Here we are! The clubbers are all picking veggies.

GARDEN CLUB MEMBERS
click here for larger image
GARDEN CLUB MEMBERS

I absolutely adore looking into workshops where the nitty gritty takes place!

WORKSHOP
click here for larger image
WORKSHOP

Next Sunday, the Lava Lily post will show all the ways Bob has used odd pieces of wood and stone to create yard sculptures.

A hui ho!

McDaniel Farmette

FARM SCENE
click here for larger image
FARM SCENE

I love to visit Other People’s Gardens for several reasons. Primarily, it is to get ideas for my own gardening efforts, to see what is possible on lava. Here are some of the ideas I found on the McDaniel acreage.

A path over the lava where we need to walk is critical. The lava rocks can trip up someone much too quickly, and as we all get a little older, we need that extra safety factor. Sandy and Joe have made nice wide paths all over their property.

PATH TO UPPER GARDEN
click here for larger image
PATH TO UPPER GARDEN

Occasionally, they’ve even put up railings to grab onto. That’s a wonderful idea!

PATH WITH RAILINGS
click here for larger image
PATH WITH RAILINGS

Here is a terrific idea for a large planter box. Joe has put together scrap wood and it saves the expense of large containers at Home Depot or Lowe’s. The bottom is left open so that roots can explore. This is what I’d like to build to house my fruit trees.

BOX PLANTER
click here for larger image
BOX PLANTER

I put up a scaffold-type construction for my green beans, but this is a good idea, too. There are enough scattered limbs from dead trees on my property to do this.

GREEN BEAN TEEPEE
click here for larger image
GREEN BEAN TEEPEE

Joe had bees, but many of the plants they relied on to make their honey were killed in the vog, so the bees literally starved to death. Here is the empty hive. I hope he tries to raise bees again. At some point, I’d like to consider having bees.

BEE HIVE
click here for larger image
BEE HIVE

Everyone I talk with says that goats are high maintenance, but it still appeals to me to have a few. I love goat’s milk and the cheese from it is pure heaven. These girls seem to be love being part of the family.

GOATS
click here for larger image
GOATS

MORE GOATS
click here for larger image
MORE GOATS

AND ONE MORE GOAT
click here for larger image
AND ONE MORE GOAT

I already have chickens, of course, but I’m always fascinated by the different designs of coops people have built. Perhaps someday I’ll do one whole post on all the coops my friends have. Here are the two where Joe and Sandy gather their eggs. The chickens are all free range, but they do lay their eggs in the nesting boxes.

OLDER CHICKEN COOP
click here for larger image
OLDER CHICKEN COOP

NEWER CHICKEN COOP
click here for larger image
NEWER CHICKEN COOP

Their rooster is a complete ham and knows he’s beautiful. He kept “posing” for me to take his picture.

MR. ROOSTER
click here for larger image
MR. ROOSTER

Some of the “girls” needed to get into the act with Sandy.

SANDY AND TWO GIRLS
click here for larger image
SANDY AND TWO GIRLS

In addition to the food sources (vegetables, goats, chickens), they have not neglected creating nooks of beauty. There is no doubt that this orchid house belongs to Sandy.

SANDY'S ORCHID HOUSE
click here for larger image
SANDY’S ORCHID HOUSE

Here are a couple of the beauties inside.

YELLOW ORCHID
click here for larger image
YELLOW ORCHID

PURPLE ORCHID
click here for larger image
PURPLE ORCHID

Even the trees in the orchard are semi-contained. They were still in their plastic when they were put into a hole. Now the trees have grown to a decent size, forcing roots through the broken down plastic.

ORCHARD
click here for larger image
ORCHARD

It seems I’m always drawn to playful yard sculptures. These chickens don’t need to be fed, but neither do they provide good eggs.

WOODEN CHICKENS
click here for larger image
WOODEN CHICKENS

Do you want to know which way the wind blows? Try putting a whirl-a-gig in your yard. I suppose the faster the wind blows, the faster she dances.

HULA WHIRL-A-GIG
click here for larger image
HULA WHIRL-A-GIG

Every garden needs a nature spirit.

GARDEN STATUE
click here for larger image
GARDEN STATUE

Even some of the plants have to work on this farm. These pitcher plants have a sticky surface that hangs onto bugs until they die. Here is a small one, and you can see the bugs inside.

SMALL PITCHER PLANT
click here for larger image
SMALL PITCHER PLANT

Here is a shot of a dead one on the ground that shows how enormous they can get. This must have been 10-12 inches long.

LARGE DEAD PITCHER PLANT
click here for larger image
LARGE DEAD PITCHER PLANT

Sandy may have “HERS”, but Joe has his own, too.

JOE'S WORKPLACE
click here for larger image
JOE’S WORKPLACE

His playful spirit comes through with the Harry Potter influence. If you are familiar with that series, you will recognize Platform 9, of course, with the luggage half-way through.

PLATFORM 9
click here for larger image
PLATFORM 9

And every Harry Potter fan knows you need a “portkey” if you want to get to another place quickly. Joe didn’t tell me where he goes when he enters this particular portkey

PORTKEY
click here for larger image
PORTKEY

At the end of our tour, we came to a resting spot near this delightful lily pond with Mr. Froggie at work.

LILY POND
click here for larger image
LILY POND

As always, I’m inspired by the relatively short amount of time it takes for people to create a haven of beauty on this new land created by the lava. It takes persistence and determination, hard work, and a desire to show love and respect to this planet.

Thank you, Joe and Sandy, for allowing me to enter your little piece of Paradise.