Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Kaua’i: Strolling through the Garden (Isle)

We’ve come to the oldest island in Hawai'i’s chain ~ Kaua’i, the Garden Isle. 

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Taro fields - Kauai's North Shore
Lush green pastures and fields carpet its low lands while emerald rain forests, thick with tropical plants, cascade from its towering peaks. Along its Northshore, where we’ve been staying, it is quite clear why the island got its nickname.

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Here the rainfall comes with regularity. Mother Nature’s has doused the area with a daily downpour or two, intermixed with brief sprinkles that  freshen the air and scatter liquid diamonds far and wide. 

(The Princeville area where we are staying gets 60 – 80 inches of rain annually and nearby Hanalei averages 80 – 120 inches.)

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Kauai's North Shore
Thanks to winds and waves, seeds and spores were brought to these islands centuries ago (along with the help of migratory birds). So when the Polynesians --  rowing  their double-hulled dugout canoes -- arrived back in AD 500 the islands were already lush with flora and fauna. Today, however, more than 100 of those 1,300 indigenous plants are now extinct and another 273 are on the endangered list.

That’s enough history,. . .come take a  look at the present-day Garden Isle. . .

PicMonkey Collage

We pass a rainbow of colors in the hibiscus plants that line the walkways of the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas where we are staying.  The yellow hibiscus (Pua Aloala or Ma’o Hau Hele in Hawaiian) has since 1988 been the Hawaiian State Flower. Its shrub-like bushes bloom every day but each bloom lasts but a day. Some accounts say it came to Kauai from Africa.

There are only two types of scented white hibiscus, Kokio KeoKeo, and they’re only found on  Hawaii’s O’ahu, Kaua’i and Moloka’i islands.  The one pictured above is of a scent-less variety.

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You’ll find many Ti plants in gardens around Hawaiian homes as well as filling this resort’s gardens. They are believed to bring good luck. Those leaves are multi-purpose and can be used to make sandals, clothing and also are used as the outer wrapping of the Hawaiian dish, lau- lau.

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The Hala or “canoe’ plant grows as big as a tree around here. I used the zoom lens to capture this bowling ball-sized fruit that was tucked up among the leaves high above me. The Hala is believed to have been brought here by the Polynesians (thus its name, ‘canoe plant’). It is hardy enough to stand the salt sea air so grows well close to the sea. Woven products make use of its leaves and that ‘fruit’ has small tips that are edible.

PicMonkey Collage

While speaking of trees, it seems Hawaii’s trees even sport bouquets of blooms. . . .

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Croton plants, pictured above,  fill garden beds with vibrant colors and the tropical sun highlights the intricate patterns on their leaves.

PicMonkey Collage

It is easy to be waylaid no matter what your destination if the trip involves a route through the gardens. . .and there don’t seem to be any routes that don’t meander through gardens on this island.

PicMonkey Collage

One of my favorite plants are the ginger, both red and pink. They are believed to have been introduced here from Melanesia sometime before the 1930’s. Their Hawaiian name is awapuhi-‘ula’ula. (Ever used Paul Mitchell’s Awapuhi shampoo? You know its ingredient now, if you have.)

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Writing about the gardens – especially the gardens that stretch for acres through the resort compounds here – wouldn’t be complete without kudos to the staff members charged with tending them.  There’s a team of ladies ( over 50 years of age)  who spend their work days folded up like accordions, their bottoms hovering inches above the ground – for hours on end – as they snip, dig, and groom these gardens. There are similar work teams, in terms of age and agility, working throughout the island.

GreeceKauau2014 170 That’s it for this week. I’ll show you our  Kauai homes-away- from-home in future posts.  We are staying in ‘luxury-digs-for-less’ thanks to The Scout who found some great rates – and we’ll tell you where we found them.

Aloha and Mahalo for your visit today.


Linking up:
Travel Photo Thursday – Budget Travelers Sandbox
Floral Friday Foto
Weekend Travel Inspirations – Reflections en Route (Sunday)
Mosaic Monday – Lavender Cottage Gardening

36 comments:

  1. Love the close up of the hibiscus. We have the same types of plants where we live in North Queensland in Australia. Beautiful photos.

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    1. Thanks Jan! It sounds like many of the plants here came from your part of the world. Must get back to Australia and stroll through more of your gardens!

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  2. Mahalo for the gorgeous post Jackie!

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  3. These are such lovely flowers. They remind me of the hibiscus and ginger that were in the landscaping by our condo in Malaysia. I would love to visit Kaua'i one day.

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    1. These do seem to be ubiquitous flowers of the Pacific and other tropical regions. . .I love the way they bring back different memories to different readers. Have a great week, Michele.

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  4. Hi Jackie, Aloha! I love Kuai and I was so excited when I see the title of your post. Thank you for taking us on a lovely stroll through this garden. It looks like Eden. Your collection of flowers - especially the hibiscus in differnt colors - is just stunning.

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    1. And Aloha to you you on this bright blue-sky day in the Garden Isle. . .glad you could join us in our garden tour today! Happy travels~

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  5. Hi Jackie...love the lushness. Those hibiscus are gorgeous. My back hurts just seeing a photo of that lady hunched down like that; not a job that I am going to aspire to. Looking forward to more posts!

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  6. Aloha Joel and Jackie

    It was most enjoyable being transported to Kauai. It is a lush and beautiful and how great that you have luxury accommodation. I find it interesting to hear that woman are the gardeners.
    Continued enjoyment
    Helen x

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    1. Even better than luxury, Helen, is affordable luxury! I can only imagine how beautiful the paintings you could create in this setting. . .

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  7. A tropical paradise!
    Such lush vegetation - beautiful hibiscus.
    Love your holiday snaps!
    Shane

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    1. Aloha, Shane. Thanks for taking a stroll through the garden with us. Hope to see you back here soon for more Kauai tales. . .

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  8. Hello Jackie and Joel,

    This all looks to be wonderfully colourful and exotic to us.

    Kauai looks to be a corner of paradise and we have so enjoyed being taken on a tour by you from the comfort of our armchairs. The gardeners do deserve praise for all their efforts. The level of maintenance looks to be amazingly high.

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    1. They simply seem to groom these gardens. . .weeds are unknown as these hunched over teams work their way from one end of the property to the other. Equally as impressive are the numbers of blooms found growing wild throughout the island. Glad you enjoyed your armchair tour - I'll take you on another soon!

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  9. Aloha Jackie and Joel,

    Firstly, your photos are extraordinary; the macros of all the beautiful flowers are amazing! Jackie, since I know you are the designated 'scribe' to Joel's 'skipper', I am enchanted with your eloquence, '...brief sprinkles that freshen the air and scatter liquid diamonds far and wide'!! Kauai certainly is a tropical treasure island, with so much lush and rich vegetation, it is almost unreal! How lucky you are to have experienced it up close, and how lucky we are to have had the pleasure of following you!

    Happy Sunday!

    Hugs,
    Poppy

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    1. Oh Poppy, your comments on other's blogs are as beautiful as your own blog. Thank you for the kind words. . .Happy September to you~ Hugs, Jackie

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  10. Beautiful florals. Someone needs to get these ladies a small stool to sit on, it must be so hard on their knees crouched like that.
    Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday Jackie.

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    1. I am with you Judith - those ladies could use milking stools and be more comfortable! Thanks to you for hosting MM, it is a pleasure to join in.

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  11. such pretty colours for the hibiscus blooms

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  12. Hawaii is true paradise! The flowers are amazing!

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    1. The gardens are spectacular here -- no doubt about it, Beth. Thanks for your visit!

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  13. Jackie and Joel, Gosh I love those flower shots...so pretty. I can smell Hawaii. It's one of those places that always smells like flowers to me. Beautiful. Thanks for linking up with Weekend Travel Inspiration!

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  14. My sister just returned from this island paradise and had such a wonderful time...she couldn't get over the lushness of this island...love to hear about the bargains in housing you found.

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    1. Donna, thanks much for your visit! I will be showing and telling our digs - and the bargains "The Scout" found us soon. Hope to see you back here then!

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  15. Mahalo for your gorgeous pics! Kauai is very special for the hubby and me. We spent our honeymoon there as well as our 10 year anniversary. It was the first Hawaiian island that I visited, too. I'll never forget how I felt when I first landed in Paradise.

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    1. We almost came here for our honeymoon but didn't and then came often in the early 80's and haven't really been back since then. It is such a spectacularly beautiful island that it takes your breath away at times! Thanks for the visit, Cathy!

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  16. Delightful post with wonderful photos.
    Thank you for participating in last week's Floral Friday Fotos. Look forward to seeing you link up again this week.

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    1. Oh Nick, if only I did flower photos regularly, I would link up. I will certainly visit again, that's for sure!! Thanks for your comment.

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  17. So gorgeous a place. We got to visit in 1980 and there really is no place like it~

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    1. You are right, Mary! It has finally come back from the devastating hurricane that hit in the early 90's and is finally back to its old lush green self.

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  18. One day I'll walk in your footsteps. The island certainly deserves its moniker - the garden isle.
    Greece, Hawaii - - whatever happened to Washington??

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    1. Ha. Ha. Leigh. You missed Washington - it was the post right after this one; I did an article for the Seattle Times on the Yakima Valley -- so I am not neglecting our home base. Thanks for the visit!

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