Opportunities to add fragrance to our gardens abound here in Hawaii. To mention a few, we have plumeria trees, gardenias, gingers, pikake, puakenikeni, and tuberose. All beautiful plants with big bold aromas. You might want to consider adding something more delicate to your collection that also packs a sensory wallop.
Those of us who hunt nurseries for interesting plants, occasionally come across something new to us that is lovely. I recently found a beautiful plant with bright orange tubular flowers and a most unusual name. “Oompa Loompa” is a hybridized cultivar of Tecoma stans to which the botanical name Tecoma x smithii is sometimes assigned. William Watson of London first described this hybrid in 1893. It has taken more than 100 years of cultivation, to select qualities that are into this cultivar that now has a funny name.
I visited B and H Farm on an overcast spring morning. There was a noticeable chill in the air that could be expected at their 2,300-foot elevation in South Kona. About 20 minutes above the highway, a one-lane, partially paved road took me to a lovely farm that Michael Hayley and Precille Boisvert have enjoyed for nearly 25 years. Though high temperatures will hit Kailua as summer approaches, they report that temperatures over 80 degrees are rare at their farm even late in the season.
It came to my attention through an email from Pamela Wong, president of Friends of the Library, Kona (F.O.L.K.) that our Kailua-Kona Public Library is overloaded with books.
My introduction to comfrey, more than 30 years ago, remains a wonderful memory.
Matilda Tompson was likely born with a green thumb. As a child, she delighted in visits to her grandparent’s farm in Massachusetts. At home in Delaware, she would scour the woods near her house for pretty flowers, dig up the plant and bring it home. Her dad was growing vegetables like lettuce, green beans and tomatoes. He was not always delighted with the addition of weeds from the woods to his garden. That did not discourage Matilda.
The winter months are often dryer than usual in Kona. Looks like the weather gods threw out the rulebook this year though. We are having lots of rain this dry season. Overall, however, we are well advised to plant our gardens in drought tolerant plants anticipating drier weather. Maiapilo is a native Hawaiian xeriscape gem to consider growing at lower elevations in Kona.
After a year of traveling in the South Pacific, Susan Ruskin and Peter Berg decided they did not want to return to the mainland and their former jobs and way of life. They had become interested in the multiple qualities of bamboo plants and had decided they would open a bamboo nursery on the Big Island.
On a recent visit to the Hawaii Ulu Cooperative, I was struck by the wealth of information that employees Rebekah Zornes and Chelsea Edinger offered. They work in order fulfillment and sales and are excited about the coop and their products. We perused their large freezers and refrigerators full of their main crop, breadfruit, but also stocked with sweet potatoes, kabocha squash, taro and avocados.
The Maka’eo Walking /Jogging Path has a long history in Kona that continues to unfold. It serves as a paved one-mile long curving roadway for folks to walk or jog. It is surrounded by lots of drought tolerant plants, art objects, small anchialine ponds
As we move into some drier winter weather, you might want to consider putting in a few drought tolerant plants. The ponytail palm, which is not botanically a palm, is a fun one to consider. It is a very hardy specimen with a remarkable growth habit. Sometimes known as elephant foot it grows from a large swollen base into a slender trunk topped with a fountain of long thin green leaves.
Many years ago, I bought a beautiful pink tecoma tree at Kona Outdoor Circle’s Pua Plantasia plant sale. Though it had been pruned into a lovely horizontal shape about 5 feet tall, I later discovered that it was naturally a somewhat tall upright tree. The beautiful pink blossoms remain its most attractive feature today years after I let it return to its usual stately growth habit.
The Portulaca genus of plants is in the Portulacaceae family, which includes about 400 species. Forty different species of the Portulaca genus exist throughout tropical and warm temperate locations.
After several requests for advice on perennial vegetables that grow well in Kona, here are some of my favorites. Consider growing them as attractive ongoing edibles for your garden.