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Tropical Gardening Helpline: Connecting in the landscape industry

October 29, 2017 - 9:50pm

Loren asks: I’ve recently taken on a few landscaping jobs and I’d like to know where and how I might brush up on my skills and connect with other landscapers to share ideas.

Tropical Gardener answer: Landscapers do have a local as well as a statewide organization. You can start by visiting where you’ll find information on the statewide Landscape Industry Council of Hawaii. They publish a magazine, “Hawaii Landscape,” and sponsor training and certification programs all over the state, which you might want to check out. They also hold an annual conference in early October that offers a chance for networking and learning about the latest developments in the industry.

Hawaii Island has an organization that holds events and tours and runs certification instruction and testing in Kona. A chance to meet members of the Hawaii Island Landscape Association and enjoy some presentations is coming up on Nov. 10. The organization is holding its seventh annual Landscape Management Conference at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, starting at 8 a.m.

The theme for this year’s conference is “Tools of the Trade,” and several speakers will speak to that theme.

Heidi Bornhorst, gardening writer and landscape designer, will open the conference relating her botanical experiences on the remote Pacific atoll known as Wake Island. Micah Barker, owner of the landscaping company Bio-Scape Hawaii, is known for his use of sustainable landscaping practices and techniques. He’ll talk about building landscapes that can reduce long-term resource use by up to 75 percent. Erin Lee, landscape director at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, will offer “A Property Manager’s Guide to Landscape Quality: Staying Ahead of the Game” as the final morning presentation.

The lunch break will include a catered meal and an awards ceremony as well as a chance to network with other attendees who are also interested and involved in landscaping in Hawaii. The break also offers an opportunity to check out the trade show featuring local landscape industry suppliers and nurseries.

The afternoon presentations will address more landscaping issues including a talk about the little fire ant as well as one on pruning young trees. Heather Forester, from the University of Hawaii Ant Lab will, offer helpful suggestions for identifying and treating LFA infestations. Steve Nimz, a consulting arborist with his own company on Oahu, will cover pruning techniques for young trees. He’ll show how proper pruning early on can help trees thrive and reach their full potential. Following the afternoon discussions, folks can visit the trade show until the 4 p.m. closing.

This event is not only information-packed, but also offers a chance to meet landscapers as well as some experts in the field. The event is open to the public, offering lots of practical management tools for landscape gardeners.

To get more information or to register for the event, visit Early registration before Nov. 6 is $100 for HILA members and $120 for nonmembers.

Email plant questions to for answers by Certified Master Gardeners. Some questions will be chosen for inclusion in this column.

Diana Duff is a plant adviser, educator and consultant living in a dryland forest north of Kailua-Kona.

Gardening Events

Monday-Friday: “Coffee Cupping Competition,” entries will be received between 8 a.m.-4 p.m. at the UH Cooperative Extension Service at 79-7381 Mamalahoa Highway in Kainaliu across from Aloha Theatre. To enter the competition, drop off 2 pounds of green coffee with the $25 entry fee. Limited to 60 entrants. Official rules, entry form and judging details available at

Saturday: “Work Day at Amy Greenwell Garden,” 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Meet at the Garden Visitor Center across from the Manago Hotel in Captain Cook. Volunteers will be able to help with garden maintenance and are invited to bring a brownbag lunch. Water and snacks provided. Info: Call Peter at 323-3318.

Farmer Direct Markets

Wednesday: “Sunset Farmers Market,” 2-6 p.m. in the HPM parking lot, 74-5511 Luhia St., in Kailua-Kona

Wednesday &Friday: “Hooulu Farmers Market,” 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at Sheraton Kona Resort &Spa at Keauhou Bay

Friday: “Pure Kona Market,” 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at Amy Greenwell Garden in Captain Cook

Saturday: “Keauhou Farmers Market,” 8 a.m.-noon at Keauhou Shopping Center

“Kamuela Farmer’s Market,” 7 a.m.-noon at Pukalani Stables

Sunday: “Pure Kona Green Market,” 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at Amy Greenwell Garden in Captain Cook

Tuesday-Saturday: “U-Pick greens and produce,” 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Tropical Edibles Nursery in Captain Cook

Plant Advice Lines


Tuesdays, Thursdays: 9 a.m.-noon at UH-CES in Kainaliu at 322-4892

Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays: 9 a.m.-noon at UH-CES in Hilo at 981-5199 or

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