Friday, November 28, 2014

Limahuli Garden and Preserve, Kauai

Limahuli Garden and Preserve, Kauai Hawaii
Welcome to the beautiful Limahuli Garden on the north shore of the island of Kauai.  Limahuli Garden and Preserve is one of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens, located in the 1,000 acre Limahuli valley and the home to nearly 250 taxa of native plants and birds. Out of Hawaii’s 1200 native plant species about 114 are already extinct and approximately 50 or less individuals of the 300 native species are remaining in the wild.  Mostly all of the native plants in the Limahuli Gardens are extremely rare and known to be endangered.  The mission of the National Botanical Garden is to preserve the Limahuli Valley and its ancient Hawaiian plants in their natural setting and save them from extinction.  On a recent visit to the island of Kauai I had the extraordinary pleasure of observing and learning about the history of these gardens first hand…an amazing and unforgettable experience! 
Limahuli Garden and Preserve-Makana Mountain in Backdrop
Limahuli Garden and Preserve Restoration Project Ancient Home Site

Limahuli Garden and Preserve Traditional Hawaiian Hale House

Surrounded by majestic Makana mountains and lush tropical rain forest the culture of the ancient Polynesians is preserved through this traditional Hawaiian hale house that was reconstructed on the footprint of an ancient house site in a 2013 restoration project led by cultural elders.  The ancient Hawaiians constructed the hale house of tropical resources which were and still are very abundant, thus respecting and protecting the forest community of the Limahuli valley.  Throughout the gardens are also lava rock terraces that were built by Limahuli's early inhabitants.
Limahuli Valley
Limahuli Valley
Citrus reticulata (Tangerine) 
Known as Mandarin Orange in other parts of the world, Citrus reticulata (Tangerine) was brought to the Hawaiian Islands in 1825.
Limahuli Garden and Preserve

Mai'a Rare Hawaiian Banana Tree

Olena (Tumeric Curcuma longa)
Olena (Tumeric Curcuma longa) is important in Asian cuisine but was traditionally used for medicine and ceremony in Hawaii and is still used in medicine today.
Limahuli Garden and Preserve

Tropical Hibiscus

 Bird of Paradise Strelitzia reginae. 

Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae), an iconic symbol of Hawaii is neither native nor introduced by Polynesians.  It came to Hawaii in the 19th century as an ornamental.

Hawaiian Ti Plant (Cordyline fruticosa)in Plantation Era Garden
Cordyline fruiticosa (Hawaiian Ti Plant) was considered to be sacred by the early Hawaiians and the symbol of high rank and power. It was worn or carried in ancient ceremonies as protection from evil spirits and is still used today in modern rituals. It's waxy leaves repel water and have many uses.  In cooking they are used as a wrapper for storing and cooking food, in building as thatch for housing and in clothing for sandals and rain gear. Red varieties of Ti have been introduced to Hawaii and hybridized to produce many beautiful foliage colors and are reproduced from seed.
Hala (Pandanus tectorius)
Hala is a native plant of Hawaii as discovered in 1993 when a preserved haha branch dating back to 1.4 million years ago was discovered in a broken lava rock near Hanalei Bay. Native Polynesians also brought over Hala to use for weaving into mats, baskets, flooring and pillows and also for the sails for their canoes. 
Pandanus tectorius (Hala Tree) Fruit
The female Hala plant produces a fruit which resembles that of a pineapple. When ripe the cluster of fruit breaks into separate fleshy parts that were known to be eaten during times of famine.
Limahuli Stream

Limahuli Stream is a freshwater source beginning at the top of the valley at 3,330 feet (1,015 meters) above sea level and plummeting over an 800-foot (244 meter) waterfall before reaching the valley floor and continuing to the ocean.  Many unique animals and plants live in the Limahuli Stream including all five species of Hawaiian freshwater fish.  The value of freshwater to the Hawaiian culture is expressed in their language with wai meaning "fresh water" and lani being the word for "heaven,sky"; hence Wailani=heavenly water. 
Araucaria columnaris (Cook Pine) Limahuli Garden and Preserve
Araucaria columnaris (Cook Pine) was introduced into Hawaii as a landscaping and lumber tree and is the most common Araucaria species in Hawaii.  The striking foliage on these  trees resembles that of a Norfork Pine but finer and more wispy...just beautiful along with the mountains in the backdrop.
Limahuli Garden and Preserve

Limahuli Garden and Preserve

Alpinia purpurata (Red Ginger Flower)

Alpinia purpurato (Tahitian Red Ginger)was an introduction to Hawaii and is one of over 1,300 species of ginger that can be found around the world. Each flower is actually a clump of red spikes that grow out of the end of a long, leafy green stalks that can grow up to 6 to 7 feet in height.  Red Ginger are not edible but are great as a cut flower and can be found in many Hawaiian tropical flower arrangements.
Limahuli Native Forest Walk

Limahuli Native Forest Walk
Alula (Brighamia insignis)-Endangered Species
Alula (Brighamia insignis) Endangered Species
Alula is an unusual, almost prehistoric looking plant that is native to Kauai and extinct in other parts of the world.  Once found on the windswept sea cliffs of Kauai, Alula suffered a serious decline in population from Hurricane Iniki destroyed half the natural population along the NaPali Coast in 1992, leaving only one remaining growing in the wild. According to the U.S. Botanic Garden, the only pollinator for the plant was a now extinct "hawk moth".  Alula can now only produce seed when artificially pollinated by humans. Thanks to conservation efforts, the endangered Alula has been preserved in National Botanical Garden's Limahuli Garden and Preserve, saving the plant from extinction. 
Limahuli Garden and Preserve

Araucaria columnaris (Cook Pine) Limahuli Garden and Preserve
Queen Emma or Spider Lily
Bread Fruit, Ulu (Artocarpus altilis)
Originating from the South Pacific, Breadfruit or Ulu, as it is named in Hawaiian, was one of the few life-sustaining plants the Polynesians brought with them when they sailed to the Hawaiian Islands.  The fruit and seeds of all three species are edible and very nutritious filled with vitamin B, calcium and complex carbohydrates. When cooked the taste of breadfruit is described as potato like or similar to freshly baked bread. Ulu turns into a sweet and gooey fruit when very ripe but is more nutritional when unripe.  It also has many other uses as it has played a part in the making of construction materials, medicine, fabric, glue, insect repellent and animal feed.  Ulu is known as the "tree of bread" in Hawaii.
 Cordyline fruticosa Cameroon (Fancy Ti Plant)
Limahuli Garden and Preserve Visitor Center
Here we are back at the visitors center.  If you are in the area of the north shore of Kauai be sure to give these magnificent gardens a look.  The views of the gardens are amazing and the staff are wonderful and very helpful.  Limahuli Garden was selected by the American Horticultural Society as one of the best natural botanical gardens in the United States and has both self guided and guided walking tours available Tuesday through Saturday 9:30-4:00 pm.  Since it is the windward side of the island and a tropical rain forest chances are it could be raining so bring rain gear just in case and enjoy!  
Limahuli Garden and Preserve
North Shore of the Island of Kauai, state of Hawaii
5-8291 Kuhio Highway, Haena, HI 96714
I hope you enjoyed the virtual tour.  Visiting the Limahuli Gardens was like a journey back in time to a natural undisturbed rainforest with native plantings, a view of the misty mountains above and Pacific Ocean below...a majestic view that will take your breath experience I will always remember.

 For further information visit Limahuli Gardens and Preserve.


As Always...Happy Gardening!

Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening, Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

San Francisco Botanical Garden

San Francisco Botanical Garden
I recently had the opportunity of visiting the San Francisco Botanical Garden located within Golden Gate Park in the Bay Area of San Francisco, California.  The gardens offer 55 acres of native plantings, landscaped regions and open spaces showcasing over 8,000 different kinds of plants from around the world.  The San Francisco Bay Area's mild temperatures, wet winters, dry summers and famous coastal fog provide a range of climatic conditions that exist in few other botanical gardens and when combined make some of the most ideal growing conditions for a multitude of plants. I enjoyed the experience of observing a vast variety of plants, many which I had never seen before, all in one location.  Come along for the tour!
San Francisco Botanical Garden:  Succulent Garden
There are several collections of gardens to visit including the Mesoamerican Cloud Forest, California Native Garden, Redwood Grove, Succulent Garden and the gardens of Central and South America, Temperate Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the Mediterranean region to name just a few.  These plants are mostly unfamiliar to me and I tried to get as many names as I could so bear with me.  I labeled the species that I was able to see tags for.  Feel free to assist if you recognize any of the unlabeled plants.
San Francisco Botanical Garden
These flowers were blooming all over the gardens in November.  I am not sure of the name but is looks like Agapanthus, or Lily of the Nile.  I only know of the blue and white varieties but these were beautiful!
San Francisco Botanical Garden
This attractive yellow flower was blooming profusely in early November.
San Francisco Botanical Garden

San Francisco Botanical Garden: Aloe arborescens yellow form (South Africa)
Aloe arborescens is sending up its stalks of yellow blooms in the South Africa collection.
San Francisco Botanical Garden:  How Plants Conserve Water

San Francisco Botanical Garden:  Protea susannae Sugarbush (South Africa)
This magnificent bloom really caught my eye!  Protea is a beautiful winter blooming plant that is native to South Africa.  Each large blossom is made up of hundreds of individual flowers.  Also, Protea's leathery leaves are known to protect the plant from dehydration.  
San Francisco Botanical Garden

San Francisco Botanical Garden Aloe arborescens Close Up (South Africa)
Here is a close up of Aloe arborescens (yellow form) along the garden path.
San Francisco Botanical Garden:  Rhopalostylis sapida Nikau Palm (New Zealand)
Rhopalostylis sapida known as Nikau Palm is New Zealand’s only palm making it one of the most easily recognized plants. Nikau Palm produces purple flowers in Spring that are followed by brilliant-red berries which hang from just below the base of the leaves that turn to seeds and are a food source for wildlife.
San Francisco Botanical Garden Cloud Forest

San Francisco Botanical Garden:  Spanish Moss (Cloud Forest)
The Mesoamerican Cloud Forest features plants typical of high elevation plant communities in southern Mexico and Central America.  It was initially planted in 1984 and has matured to represent a typical cloud forest with trees, shrubs, ferns, vines and epiphytes.  As part of a preservation program seeds were collected from rare and endangered cloud forest species from around the globe over a period of thirty years. San Francisco's unique mild and foggy climate allows these plants to grow successfully outdoors.
San Francisco Botanical Garden:  Lagoon and Palms

San Francisco Botanical Garden

San Francisco Botanical Garden 
This lovely plant had no tag on it but I believe it is Cordyline australis 'Red Sensation' from researching.
San Francisco Botanical Garden

San Francisco Botanical Garden
The gardens are full of these bright pink and orange blooms in November...
San Francisco Botanical Garden
and tropical like foliage.
San Francisco Botanical Garden

San Francisco Botanical Garden
Steps and paths meander through this raised lush garden. 
San Francisco Botanical Garden

San Francisco Botanical Garden Conservatory of Flowers
In Golden Gate Park the Conservatory of Flowers is the oldest public wood-and-glass conservatory in North America opening to the public in 1879. Declared as a city, state and national historic landmark, the Conservatory remains one of the most photographed and favored attractions in San Francisco.
San Francisco Botanical Garden Conservatory of Flowers

San Francisco Botanical Garden Conservatory of Flowers:  Tropical Rhododendrons (Vireya)
In the greenhouse Tropical Rhododendron (Vireya) is in bloom...
San Francisco Botanical Garden Conservatory of Flowers:  Anthurium
as well as Anthurium.
San Francisco Botanical Garden Conservatory of Flowers:  Aquatic Plants
Water lilies are found in this aquatic garden.
San Francisco Botanical Garden Redwood Grove:  Giant Redwood Sequoiadendron Giganteum
Redwood Grove is one of the many beautiful areas within the San Francisco Botanical Garden.  This century old grove is full of fog-loving towering giants known as Coast Redwoods or Sequoia sempervirens. Giant Redwood represent the tallest living things on Earth and have been drastically reduced by extensive logging during the past 150 years. The coast redwoods at San Francisco Botanical Garden were planted around the turn of the 20th century and are among the oldest trees in the Botanical Garden.  Over the past forty years over 100 species of related plants have been added to create and preserve a typical redwood forest.
San Francisco Botanical Garden
I hope you enjoyed the virtual tour of the San Francisco Botanical Garden.  I found the gardens to be both beautiful and educational and was amazed over the vast diversity of plants from all over the world contained in one location.  The total 1,017 acre Golden Gate Park also includes the Conservatory of Flowers, Japanese Tea Garden, numerous museums, lakes, trails, playgrounds, picnic groves and monuments.

For more information on the San Francisco Botanical Gardens and Conservatory of Flowers visit here.

As Always...Happy Gardening!

Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening, Copyright 2014. All rights reserved