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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, November 29, 2002

Plantings a pleasant sight along Likelike

By Heidi Bornhorst

Q. We notice on our daily commute from Kahalu'u some nice new plantings along the Likelike Highway near the H-3 Freeway. There are native hala and, Hawaiian loulu palms. Whom can we thank for this improvement?

A. Yes these are very nice plantings, and I notice them as I go to Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden. I made some inquiries and talked to State Department of Transportation horticulturist Andrew Yee. He was very humble and shared credit with fellow staffers, including Sherman Kaopua, landscape contractor Morris Kosae of Akamai landscapes and landscape architect Stan Duncan of PBR, Hawai'i.

Plantings include mini groves of hala, loulu palm, kamani and kukui. The plantings are well designed and are well maintained. This is a happy sight for all of us.

Ka'ahumanu plantings

Scenic Hawaii worked with the state and city to accomplish some great new tree plantings along Ka'ahumanu Boulevard for Arbor Day, reports organization president Cis Crocker. Crocker says neighbors in the area are quite happy about their new shade trees.

Landscape architect Randal Fujimoto of the Nimitz Highway beautification subcommittee of Scenic Hawaii designed the nice large street tree plantings for this formerly treeless median in a hot, dry area. Trees planted included 15 monkeypods and 13 rainbow shower trees.

Douglas Taylor, manager of Stadium Mall, started the request. He contacted the state Department of Transportation, which called Scenic Hawaii. Horticulturist Yee worked with Taylor and Scenic Hawaii, and the state renovated the irrigation system.

The main lines run down the center of the median, and this was a big plus. Irrigation is crucial in the success of any planting. Yee was critical in coordinating the project, Fujimoto says.

About a year ago, Taylor was inspired by the beautification, landscaping and tree planting that the city had done on the widening of Salt Lake Boulevard. Yee asked Taylor to take photos and attend the next state transportation planning meeting. Taylor investigated and found there were water lines along Ka'ahumanu. It was an old system, but repairable.

Taylor met with Fujimoto and they studied the landscape feasibility of the planting. The trees came from the city. Taylor met with Mayor Jeremy Harris, who liked the concept and provided the monkeypod trees.

Taylor says humbly and happily, "I can't take the credit at all. Scenic Hawaii did the lion's share. They are sure great people."

Carol Hopkins of Scenic Hawaii was overjoyed with the project and the kokua and joy of the neighbors.

On a side note: My description of the ti farm on the Big Island last week was not quite right. The plants aren't mulched with black plastic, but with ground cloth, which is more environmentally friendly. There is an important difference.

Fall decorating tips

Fallen leaves can be very pretty for your holiday entertaining. Finding treasures on the ground helps clean up and lets you and your keiki get some exercise.

I borrowed one of my favorite keiki and we went fall treasure hunting. On a Windward beach, we found some real treasures.

Fallen leaves of the sea grape tree are stiff and wide with gorgeous fall colors of red, golden yellow and brown. The veins are different colors than the leaves and make a nice contrast. Fallen red, paddle-shaped leaves of the tropical almond were a nice addition to the golden tones of the sea grape.

Then we found some silken leaves of magnolia trees and the red-bedecked fruit for some more choice decor. (Magnolias are planted as a street tree in some of our wetter neighborhoods.)

We placed the leaves under vases of fall flowers and seasonal candles. They looked colorful and festive. "Leaves aren't rubbish at all if you know how to look at them, yeah Auntie?" the akamai keiki said.

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.