Showing posts with label tropical flowers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tropical flowers. Show all posts

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


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