Sunday, August 15, 2010

One full year in hawaii

Well, I know I've been bad about posting, but in my defense, I've been busy working, which is a good thing. The Japanese garden in Hilo (15 miles north) I've been restoring is really coming along and looking good. I do a whole post on it soon. I'm up there 4 days a week now, plus doing the farmers market on Sundays at Maku'u (2 miles south of Kea'au) and all the specialty sales on the big island.
Calliandra surinamensis hybrid

Our garden had definitely grown a ton since we began planting in September. It's amazing how fast things grow when there is no winter slowdown, or droughts or Santa Annas to desiccate things. Above is the entry bed, the second we planted. The large shrub behind the Zamia furfuracea is a Calliandra surinamensis hybrid with red flowers (instead of pink). I will be propagating it for sale in the spring of 2011 on line.

To the right is some Areca vestiaria (Red Leaf Form) which so far have been slow, but everything else has grown really fast. The front garden has just now really got its roots in the ground and begun to grow.
Brugmansia 'Velvet Rose'

Brugmansia 'Snowbank'
The Brugmansias or Angel's trumpets have been the fastest, started as rooted 4" plants and most are about almost 6' tall after 6 months. My favorite is 'Velvet Rose', probably the best pink I've seen. Brugmansia 'Apricot' is massive, 'Snowbank' is a dwarf but has a great variegation. Its late right now and the smell in the living room is really nice.

Brunmansia 'Apricot'

For me the layout of the front garden was the most exciting part, because I could finally see the space in 3-D and not just on the page. I have a naturalistic circuitous path system with different sized circular beds punctuating the garden for a little geometry. One is a patio, another a turf bed with variegated St. Augustine grass. (Stenotaphrum secudatum 'Variegatum')

I still want to top the paths and the patio with a crushed blue stone, for some reason they call it sand here. Real sand is apparently expensive to ship in. They use the blue stuff in concrete. The long term plans for the patio are to cover it with a bamboo arbor inspired by a cool design I saw at a San Francisco flower show years ago.
Schizolobium parahyba

The curving paths are an old Sin Jen trick to create a sense of mystery and expansion in the garden. The large tree to the left of the path is one of three Schizolobium parahyba, or Brazilian tree fern, which is not a fern at all. Andy ordered the seed (4) of which 3 spouted and are now over 7' tall. They can get up to 100' tall with buttressed roots with enough soil, we have no soil so I'm hoping they will stay smaller, but still provide a tall canopy.

My brother David and his partner Robbie came to visit last month, they're some of the few to see the our new place, and it was Davids first trip to Hawaii. We did the whole tourist thing.

We went up 4,000' to see the Kilauea crater, we also went back later that evening to hike the smaller Kilauea Iki and back up to the caldera to see the inner glow at night. It's one of the only national parks to be open 24 hours.

David & Robbie

Mauna Kea

We also went up to to top of Mauna Kea at almost 14,000 feet. It is quite a drive, man but the view was so great. Clear as anything, I could see Hilo and my neighborhood to the south east, and the pick is a shot of Maui, just a hundred miles off the north west coast the Big Island, the peak is Mount Haleakala at 10,000'.

We also hiked down to Waipio Valley, a mile down a one to one slope. About 20 minutes to get down and about an hour to get up (a painful hour). It's got 1000' water falls at the back, wild horses and old taro farms, it's real old Hawaii.
Waipio Valley

The sunset was a night on the Koan side, just like a postcard. But dry as a bone over there, give the rainy side anytime.

Polyscias 'Golden Prince'
After being here a year I've spent a little time reflecting on my time here. We have really been busy just getting settled, I think it may take another year at least. First we got our living situation settled, then started to try and find work, not easy, the local economy is really bad. I started growing plants, a first just to build up an inventory and get a handle on how to propagate plants here.
Rhododendron 'Gardenia Odyssey'

I've also begun to see what the locals want to buy, a sad note there, the populous here is not much brighter than Southern California in that regard. Not very adventurous, which is really unfortunate given what grows here.

Musa 'Ae Ae' leaves

 They don't give plants much value, as they prefer free cuttings from their neighbor. Blooming orchids are only $3 dollars at the farmers market. I'm growing plants in 3.5" pots, getting ready for mail order, the locals want bigger plants in bloom for a cheap price. So I'm making adjustments.

Musa 'Ae Ae' fruit
After getting 12 tables set up with plants, I dropped in at the Ag. Department to set up an inspection to get certified, only to find out they need to inspect empty tables first, before anything is propagated. So all my work so far has to be sold locally, or a least not to CA, TX, LA or AZ. I can ship to other states if I get an individual inspections. So I'm re-grouping and preparing to ship my newly propagated (as in after nursery certification) plants for Spring of 2011. Even so, we do well at big event sales in Hilo, Waimea and we are even selling at an event in Kona in a few weeks.

We are just now getting fruit on Bananas we bought when we first moved here, this Musa 'Ae Ae' is the coolest with variegated leaves and fruit.

Still haven't met a lot of friends here to hang out with yet. It's hard to get used to a new place after basically my entire adult life in CA. But I do see all my old friends in my new garden, like my Hedychium f. 'Bill Byron'.

Until next time, here's a rainbow from down at Kalapana, 10 miles south of us, as the lava started flowing again into the ocean. The blueish green house on the right is about 50' from 2000 F lava.