Friday, December 11, 2009

First winter? in Hawaii

I'm having a blast growing so many plants that I've tried before and killed, like this variegated star jasmine, Trachelospermum j. 'Ogon Nishiki'. I think it just doesn't like cool nights below 50 degrees, well no problem here, it seldom gets below 65. This plant has already doubled in size in just a few months.This banana is a real stunner, Musa acuminata 'Siam Ruby' , not only is the foliage great, but it also produces great fruit. No winter cold to slow them down, they just keep growing.
This viney shrub is also one I've tried in So. Ca. with no luck. No worries Medinilla magnifica does great here. The berries that form later are blue as a bonus.
Andy & I recently got a chance to visit the Lundkvist Palm Garden, a really amazing tropical paradise in Leilani, just a few miles south of us. This palm garden is way more than just a collection of palms. Laid out geographically, it still is a beautifully designed garden. Started in the late 90's, Andy and I could not believe how mature it was. I know it gave me a lot of hope for my own garden, and inspired more than a few palms to add to my list, like this Dypsis sp. with a white trunk or this
orange crown shaft one called Dypsis sp. (orange crush)

After a quick two weeks back in San Diego to tie up some loose ends, I just got back to Hawaii. I had to ship my Kubota tractor over (not cheap) and my most valued plants that I had set aside. I shipped over almost 500 plants, the process was pretty easy actually. The only ones I had to get special permits for were the bromeliads and orchids. I know 500 sounds like a lot, but remember we had over 4000 taxa at our old house, so this was really only about 10%. In addition to those shipped, we have collected about another 500 here, like this beautiful Coleus 'Henna', so after 4 months we are right at about a thousand, not a bad start.Plants here are so cheap, and that goes for orchids as well, these dendrobiums we got at the local Macu'u farmers market for less than $3.00 ea. They are basically cheaper than pansys, we bring the home, have them in every room and have mounted them on every native Ohia tree (Metrosiderous polymorpha) we can reach.
I thought it wise to ship as many plants over as I could (nothing invasive), as I don't see me going over to the mainland for a while. I was shipping almost everyday I was there, 52 boxes in all. My friends Mary and Bill McBride were nice enough to put me up, and let me turn the back of there nursery into a shipping factory. I was great to have Andy at the other end to pick up the boxes and pot stuff up, as well as set cuttings.
The lanai is slowly getting closed in with this new bamboo fence and plant shelf, and trust me a sunny location out of the rain is important for a lot of plants as they get there new roots established, as well as many plants that just don't like being wet. I am getting so used to the rain and humidity now, I miss it when it doesn't rain. This week it hasn't rained in at least 5 days, a drought by Puna standards.
Oh, but all that rain makes the garden so green. I can't believe I have turf, after 20 plus years of telling people to remove it, but 100 inches a year is very different than Southern California's 8" a year. Andy told me we got 8" in one day while I was gone, now that's a lot of rain.
This picture is on Waipio Valley, just about one hour north of us, this really is a stunningly beautiful place.