Welcome to the 4th of July weekend and the return of our half hour program. We just finished our 13 weeks of hour long programs and now we return to a half hour program until the end of November.
This week we reward you with a trip to Hawaii. Actually, the trip was made this past February with a group of great Garden Time viewers. We spent 10 days in the islands and traveled to four islands. We traveled most of the trip on the Norwegian Cruise Lines ship ‘Pride of America’. We stopped at quite a few places and visited with lots of friendly people. This trip was the perfect break from the winter cold, though I have to tell you that we had such a long winter it was hard to remember the trip sometimes.
In addition to the places we visited, I have included two videos I shot of the lava flows at night and a little whale watching too.
So join us as we say ‘aloha’ to the islands.
This is just one of the great trips we have taken gardeners on over the past few years. Now we are making plans for our next big adventure. A trip to Europe! We are planning now to visit gardens in England, France and ending with the Flower Carpet in Belgium. The Flower Carpet is a huge display of begonias that covers an areas of two city blocks. It only happens every two years and is up for just a couple of days! The trip includes stops in London and Paris. This trip should be on every gardeners ‘bucket list’. Check out the Garden Time tour link on our website to get on the list for more information!
This week we featured...
The Island of Oahu has so much to offer. Waikiki alone, can keep you busy for a month! If you are a gardener, there is one place we would recommend whole-heartedly, Waimea Valley. We met with David Orr, the ‘plant guy’ at the botanical garden and he tried to fill us in on the garden itself, but this place is so much more than a place for plants. The Waimea Valley is now a non-profit and is also known as the ‘Valley of the Priests’, because it is where ancient priests came to train and live. Because of that, you will find areas that contain ancient archaeological sites and areas where interpretive displays are located. We also enjoyed talking to a local artist who was weaving palm strands into bracelets and mats.
The gardens don’t take a backseat to the historical aspects of this garden. They have over 150 acres of gardens that contain over 5,000 different plants including native and endangered Hawaiian plants. There are plants here that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. In fact, some species are now being sent back to their native lands in the hope of reforesting and repopulating those areas. The entire garden was very impressive! If you ever get back to Oahu, take a trip to the North Shore and visit this spectacular garden and valley.
Orchids are considered by some to be a tropical, because of their unique flowers and leaves, but you don’t need a tropical area to grow these beauties! We found one of the world’s leading growers of orchids on the Big Island of Hawaii, near the city of Hilo, at Akatsuka Orchid Gardens. We met with the son of the owner, Takeshi Akatsuka to talk about orchids and their care. The first thing we talked about was the myth that orchids are hard to grow and maintain. Takeshi told us that they can be easy to grow if you pay attention to the type of orchid you grow. So figure out what type you have and that will make it easier to care for it. We started with a popular orchid, the Phalaenopsis, or moth orchid. These are a great starter orchid because they can handle low light and a little bit more moisture (gardeners tend to over water orchids). They also are a long blooming orchid, with blooms lasting up to 3 months. Nate, another employee, brought in a couple more to look at. The first one was a Cattleya called ‘Dick Smith Paradise’. It had an incredible bloom with light lavender, purple and yellow blooms. Takeshi told us that his father specializes in these types of orchids, having created over 2,000 different varieties of this orchid. These types of orchids really like it dry, so you shouldn’t water these as much, maybe once a week on average. The blooms can get huge on these types of orchids, plus they can be fragrant too!
The final orchid from Nate was an Oncidium orchid named Heaven Scent ‘Redolence’. This one was very fragrant, with the smell of chocolate! In fact, it is known as the chocolate orchid. These types of orchids like it moist. They even changed the planting media to include more moss to hold more water at the roots. It also loves bright, filtered light.
If you would like to try one of these orchids you can go to their website and have one shipped by 2-day shipping though FedEx. If you already have an orchid and want to take care of it a little better, you can also check out the website for care information on all types of orchids. Plus, if you ever make the trip to the Big Island, stop by and see the huge display of orchids. They even walk you through the growing process, step by step. It was a fun place to visit!
National Tropical Botanical Garden
One of the final stops on our Garden Time tour was at the National Tropical Botanical Garden on Kauai, though it really is multiple gardens in one. While we were there we actually saw 3 different areas there. The area itself contains 5 different gardens. During our visit we saw two of the gardens and a research area. We started our tour with a visit to one of the research areas. One of the main focuses of the NTBG is to preserve and conserve rare plants and the areas in which they grow. Mike joined Judy to talk about the Conservation and Horticultural Center. He talked about the native plant collection and how they have been saving and propagating native island plants since the '70s. These plants are repatriated to areas where they have disappeared so they can grow there again. This area is very important to preserve the genetic and biodiversity of the native plant population.
We then moved over to another part of the garden to talk with Erick, the horticulture manager of the South Shore Gardens (a grouping of the gardens at NTBG). He talked about the McBryde Garden. This garden is a large display garden with collections of those same rare and unique, tropical and native plants. The McBryde Garden contains the bio-diversity trail which Erick thinks is ‘super cool’. This trail cover 450 million years of plants and how they have grown and adapted to their environment. There is also a native garden, full of plants that were in the islands before human habitation, and the ‘canoe garden’, which contains 27 different plants that islanders brought with them to help in survival when they first arrived. Another interesting area deals with one of those canoe plants, breadfruit. This fruit is a staple in the diet of many islanders and at the NTBG they have the Breadfruit Institute which does research and distributes these fruits to areas dealing with hunger.
Finally we made of final stop of the day at the Allerton Garden. This garden is more of a display garden. Its roots go back to Hawaiian royalty, Queen Emma. She loved this area and planted rose apples, mangos and bamboo among other plants. The property eventually made it to Robert Allerton, he bought the property and started to design garden areas. He loved the sound of water and so as you walk through the garden, you are never far from the sight or sound of it. This garden is like walking from one room to another. Each area creates a different mood or feeling. There are bright, open gardens with tall structures and other areas are dark and subtle. This garden is so picturesque that it has been used in many movies, including Jurassic Park!
These gardens truly fit the title for Kauai, the Garden Island. If you would like to support their efforts or want to schedule a visit, just check out their website!
A lot of people think that you need potatoes to make a great vodka, but that isn’t the case at all. In fact, we found a very nice vodka on Maui and it was made with sugar cane! Ocean Vodka is becoming one of the leading vodkas in the world and for a number of reasons. Their vodka is different because of the way it is made. Earl South from Hawaii Sea Spirits, the maker of Ocean Vodka, joined William in the sugar cane fields to tell us about that process. It all started with the Smith family and their commitment to being organic. They worked with various botanical gardens and universities to made sure that they are organic and diverse in their growing operation. They are even growing numerous different varieties of sugar cane, some which are not readily available anywhere else. Maui recently closed their last commercial sugar cane farm and so these 80 acres are one of the largest growing operations left on the island.
Another part of their unique process is the water they use. They use a deep ocean mineral water. There is a huge under sea current that wraps around the world. It carries minerals and trace elements with it. That water is harvested from a depth of 3,000 feet below the Kona coast. It is purified and desalinated, but they leave the minerals in, which gives Ocean its characteristic flavor. We toured the facility, tasted raw sugar cane and saw the distillation process. This product is unique right down to its signature round bottle!
This process is now being used to make a sister product, Deep Island Hawaiian Rum, which is also delicious! If you are on the Island of Maui, take a trip to the upland Kula region and pay them a visit to learn more about this wonderful natural product!
Hawaii Whale Watching
We spent a day cruising by Maui and enjoying the sun on the Pride of America. We also were able to watch the whales that returned to the islands as they played and jumped in the warm waters.
Hawaii Lava Viewing
While we were on our cruise with Norwegian Cruise Lines we passed the coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. The Kīlauea volcano had begun to erupt and pour lava into the sea. We passed during the evening and the show was pretty spectacular. Notice the river of lava flowing and the explosion of the sea water as it enters.