Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, November 22, 2002

Learn about native trees, plant one in your garden

By Heidi Bornhorst

Horticultural information on Hawaiian trees, a tour of the Hawaiian plant section and a tree giveaway will be shared with the public at an Urban Forestry Field Day, 9 to 11 a.m. tomorrow at Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden (in the Kahua Lehua section). The field day will feature a walking tour of the native trees selected for this project, and a limited number of native trees will be given away. Participants will learn how to successfully grow these trees in their gardens. Admission is free. Call 537-1708 to RSVP; please leave your name, phone number and address.

A one-year federal project conducted at Ho'omaluhia to research and promote the use of native Hawaiian trees in urban forests is nearing its conclusion. The project was financed by a grant involving the Kaulunani — America the Beautiful Program (administered by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service), the Friends of Honolulu Botanical Gardens and the Honolulu Botanical Gardens.

Last March, 100 trees (10 each of 'a'ali'i, alahe'e, ho'awa, koki'o ke'o ke'o, manele, lonomea, loulu, naio, 'ohe and 'ohi'a lehua) were planted and have since been studied for their suitability in urban landscapes. Ho'omaluhia garden has proved to be the perfect test spot because the soil is poorly compacted and heavily graded. Thus it mirrors tough urban landscapes. The soil was found to be acidic with poor drainage, deficient in some essential nutrients. Despite these adverse soil, 95 percent of these trees have demonstrated that these native species can survive under difficult conditions.

Arboretum sale

The Lyon Arboretum Holiday Plant and Craft Sale also takes place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow at the arboretum, 3860 Manoa Road. Don't miss a great day of festive foliage! The arboretum cuts ti varieties from its collection and offers them for sale. Tillandsias, orchids, poinsettias, native plants, Christmas cacti, gingers and bromeliads will be available, as will jams and jellies, creative decorations and gifts. Come early to place your orders for fresh herbal wreaths. There's a free shuttle service to the arboretum, with pick-up points where Poelua and Nipo streets intersect with Manoa Road. Phone 988-0456 for more information.

The colors of ti

The other day I was working on a special landscaping/decorating project for one of my favorite clients, and when I went shopping at my local garden shop, I was inspired by what I found there: the high quality flowering and foliage plants and friendly, expert service. I found some especially colorful ti varieties which went well together.

People buying plants usually are happy and in a good mood. One lady had a shopping cart full of long-lasting Madagascar periwinkles. We discussed how nice they'd be in her garden. Then she saw the ti plants I had chosen. This inspired her too, and she also picked up a bunch of colorful ti plants in one- and two-gallon pots, ready to go in her garden! Ti always is popular and is easy to care for.

We were over on the Big Island and visited with old friends who have a ti farm in Kurtistown as well as a young exotic-fruits orchard. In the deep, fertile soil and bright sunlight, the ti plants glowed with brilliant colors. Controlling weeds on the former sugar lands is the only big maintenance problem on the farm. Black plastic mulch helps control weeds and conserves moisture for the colorful ti plants.

Heidi Bornhorst is director of Honolulu's botanical gardens.

Submit questions to islandlife@honoluluadvertiser.com or Island Life, The Advertiser, P.O. Box 3110, Honolulu, HI 96802. Letters may be published or distributed in print, electronic or other forms.