In 2005 I bought this sweet small house on an acre of land consisting of nothing but a’a lava rock. Then in May of 2008, I started this blog. I began to share photos and write about how that acre of lava was developing (or not developing).
Since late spring of this year, I was given a home that is closer to the college where I teach, closer to town, and has land that will actually grow something. It is still rocky, but the lava has decomposed enough that it manages to provide more of the lush greenery for which Hawai`i is known.
While I lived in Ocean View, I complained about not being able to grow anything, or at best what did stay alive was growing at a snail’s pace! Now my complaint goes in the opposite direction – everything grows too quickly! This view into the side yard was taken in April.
Two months later in June, it was so overgrown that no one could walk through it! There is a lot of work to be done still, but with the help of some friendly landscapers, it is beginning to take shape. I’ll post more pictures as things start to look beautiful again.
I look forward to cleaning out this little area with its raised beds. It is a perfect spot for growing herbs, or starting seeds, or potting seedlings, and more. The purple sweet potatoes growing here were probably from starts the previous owner was tending. I will transplant some of those into a backyard garden.
Friends have given me lilikoi seedlings and several white pineapple plants. So much to look forward to here!
I apologize, but I have just had a major crash on my blog. I am in the process of recreating the posts so bear with me. There are posts available for your enjoyment, however, from the beginning up through July 2011. If you missed some of the early posts, this is a good time to catch up.
Many of us have read Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert written in 2007. The notion of using three words to define a specific period of her life, some have started to seek out three words that relate to their own life. One blogging author finds three words to symbolize her year, both in how she writes and in how she lives.
Just for fun, I decided to try the same thing, but somehow the idea of having to keep three words in mind all year felt a little overwhelming. I’m not sure if that’s because of my schedule or my aging brain!
I chose to concentrate on one word each month, instead. I think what I’m needing out of these words is a shift in attitude more than doing more of what I do, or doing it better. We’ll see if this concept works out by the end of the year.
Somewhere over the past decade, I’ve given up dreaming of what my life could be, or what I want out of life. This year of 2012 is a time for me to examine my dreams and goals in life once more. So I have chosen “Dream” as my word for January, and I don’t intend for this to be just “daydreaming” (as in wishful thinking).
However I apply the word I choose each month, I believe it is important for our mind and soul to actually pursue something in our lives, whether that is change or expansion – or simply staying open to new possibilities.
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.
During a recent seminar for college teachers, I played unofficial tour guide to several of my colleagues from other parts of the United States.
One of the women in the group had been watching for the so-called “corpse flower” to bloom. We were told that the flower was to bloom at the Pana`ewa Zoo and Gardens. The seminar we were attending was held at our Volcano National Park, so we were not far from the zoo’s location just outside the town of Hilo.
Even after all the years I’ve lived here, I had never been to the zoo. After all, I had lived in San Diego for many years, and had grown up near St. Louis, both cities having zoos that are rather spectacular! I had envisioned this local zoo as a small and rather insignificant display.
I was wrong! I was amazed at the variety of rainforest flora and fauna they have gathered. Not only do I plan to return for a more leisurely visit, but I will recommend it highly to future visitors to our beautiful island.
We found the display of the “corpse flower,” but we were one day late to see it in full bloom, as it’s a very short-lived blossom. However, we were able to see it before it completely went away, and get a whiff of its decaying flesh aroma.
Follow this link to view a slide show of the rainforest.
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.
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!
Our Big Island Self-Sufficiency group (BISS) here on the Big Island meets quarterly for a potluck and to share or exchange seeds, plants and cuttings. Other people there took lots of pictures, but you can see pictures I took at last year’s gathering here.
Kele’s garden is still full of banana trees and various tropical plants that would fill any gardener’s heart with envy! Needless to say, the food was excellent! I came away with several small plants and a bag of various seeds. Some of the items were new to me, like these.
Sonia is another garden and food blogger. She makes sure everything is in its right place! “Hot dishes go here, cold dishes go here, and desserts are over there – and I’m so happy you could join us!” Be sure to check out her blog from yesterday to find out a bit of the history behind BISS, and see more pictures from our gatherings.
This year, several of our members brought musical instruments to jam. I was able to get a couple video clips of them playing. Ignore the background chatter of all the people (65 people showed up!) in this YouTube, and you might hear the music that reminded me of my old “hippie” days in California. My little camera may not produce the finest fidelity, but the music was good toe-tappin’ stuff!
Peter played Mandolin, Altar played guitar (sometimes they switched), Phil played banjo and harmonica, Melanie played violin. Peter and Altar are from the Akaka Pit Stop where you can buy fresh fruits and veggies from their farm when you are on the Hilo side of the Big Island. Be sure to check out their website and tell them I sent you!
As soon as Spring semester was over at the college, I took off for a week to visit my children on the mainland. I’ve posted photos of my daughter Inga’s garden in the past, but for the first time ever, I was there to enjoy it in person!
One morning while she was at work, I walked around her garden with my video camera. Another addition since I was there is the little dry creek and bridge in the photo above. Inga set it up to look like it empties into the pond.
Enjoy this YouTube I created of Inga’s garden in the early days of Spring, even though it was still very cold! You’ll see Quimby the Corgi, Mr. Bill and Spooky Boo her two cats, and a neighboring white cat that wanted to get into the act, too.
One of my intentions since the beginning of this blog almost three years ago has been to show readers what some of our local residents have managed to create on their acreage, and what they are doing to make it livable as well as beautiful. If you want to see some of these past posts, go through the categories on the right hand column of this blog.
The Southern end of the Big Island of Hawaii is not exactly the luxurious tropical atmosphere most people envision when they think of Hawaii. Here, every bloom is nurtured and prized, every square inch is utilized as much as possible.
Many of my posts talk of the challenges we face when we try to garden on our a`a lava. It is a constant process of finding which plants will survive during drought or heavy rain, coping with toxic air full of sulfur dioxide from the volcano, sheltering our plants from the strong trade winds, and working with minimum soil that we (mostly) need to make ourselves out of compost.
Little by little, our lava beds can become works of art. Recently, our Ocean View Garden Club visited another local property that exemplifies the creativity that is possible here, in spite of harsh circumstances. Plant art, found art, junque art – all are at home here and work together to form an oasis of beauty.
Click here to view a slide show of what is possible when creative minds are put to work.
A hui hou!
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