Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Allerton Tropical Botanical Garden, Kauai

Allerton Botanical Garden Kauai
Hawaii is the home to many botanical gardens, and Allerton Tropical Botanical Garden on the island of Kauai is one of my favorites. Located in the beautiful Lawa'i Valley, Allerton Gardens encompass approximately 85 acres of land. The mission of this private, non-profit organization is to preserve and protect the one third of all plants that are threatened by extinction. The Allerton Garden Guided Tour lasts approximately two and a half hours and is presented by knowledgeable tour guides, each sharing their vast knowledge of Allerton's botanical and cultural history. Sit back, listen to some Hawaiian music and enjoy the tour!
Allerton Tropical Botanical Gardens Kauai
Kauai's Lawa'i Valley was known in ancient Hawaiian culture as the land divide of Lawa'i. In 1848, the land was granted to King Kamehameha I, who willed a third of the land to Queen Emma. In 1885, Kamehameha's widow gave the remaining land to Queen Emma, and she took permanent residence there after her husband and son passed away. Since she possessed such a deep passion for gardens, Queen Emma planted numerous plumeria, bougainvillea, mango, pandanus, rose apple and fern throughout the valley. Queen Emma leased the Lawa'i Valley to the McBryde family, who eventually bought the estate from her in 1886. The McBrydes continued to plant sugarcane, taro and rice, then sold the land to Robert Allerton in 1938. Allerton was the only son of a Mayflower descendant who had made his fortune in Chicago in livestock, banking, and real estate, who had became fascinated by landscape architecture. Allerton met John Gregg, a young architectural student at the University of Illinois, whom he eventually adopted. The two men traveled the world purchasing works of art and getting new inspiration for the gardens. On their way home from a trip in the Pacific in 1937, the Allertons visited Kaua’i and were amazed with the lower portion of the Lawa’i Valley. They purchased the property and in 1938 moved into their new home, which was designed by John Gregg. They called the property “Lawa’i-kai” (kai is the Hawaiian word for “near the sea”). In 1964, Allerton was declared as a tropical botanical garden, chartered by the U.S. Congress, which completely took over the estate in the early 1990's.
Water Lily
The ride into the gardens starts with Pump Six, the original pump house that delivered water to the sugarcane fields in the upper valley during the early 1900's. These beautiful water lilies now thrive in the water source behind the pump house.
 Pachypodium rutenbergiantium 
Next is Pachypodium rutenbergianum, an unusual looking tree with spiny leaves that only grow at the very tips of the branches. The tree reaches a height of 3 to 12 meters and displays fragrant white and yellow flowers in the warmer months, the blooms resembling those of plumeria.
Hawaiian Native Hibiscus
 Hawaiian Hibiscus is endemic to the island of Kauai and grows as a shrub or small tree, reaching a height of 10-23 feet. The state flower of Hawaii is the yellow hibiscus, while other forms such as red, orange and white can be seen throughout the islands. Native Hawaiian hibiscus is on the endangered species list and is under protection by the National Tropical Botanical Gardens.
Monkey Brain Tree 

If you look closely at the fruit of this tree, it exhibits a bumpy appearance, almost  resembling a brain. This tree is known as Osage-orange, hedge apple or monkey-brain tree. It was late in the season when these photos were taken, so the fruit which is normally a yellow-green has started to fade. The fruit of the tree is related to the Mulberry, but for the most part is not edible.  The seeds are edible and the hard wood has been widely used in the making of bows.

Our Tour Guide explains the nutritional value of Artocarpus altilis – Breadfruit Ulu

Native to Hawaii, Breadfruit grows in tropical lowland areas, especially in those areas near ancient Hawaiian settlements. The ancient Polynesians had brought Breadfruit to Hawaii in their canoes and used it as a life-sustaining staple, the fruit and seeds are edible and very nutritious. The milky sap was used for medicinal purposes and the fruits were cooked and eaten, sometimes used to make poi. Ulu is known as the "tree of bread" in Hawaii.
Breadnut Tree
This bread nut is a smaller version of breadfruit, containing seeds which are very high in minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. The fresh seeds can be cooked and eaten or allowed to dry out.
Allerton Garden Room

Robert Allerton had an affection for formal gardens, so he created this enclosed walled garden. The room serves as a peaceful retreat and leads to a more open area.
Shell Ginger
The lattice structure above leads to these beautiful Shell Ginger which grow in the gardens beyond.
Allerton Garden Kauai
The tour continues through a rain forest of tropical plants including native palms, bromeliads, orchids and ferns, leading to the Allerton family orchid.
Palmello Tree (Hawaiian Grapefruit)
The fruit orchid is full of culinary delights, including this Hawaiian grapefruit, which is quite a tasty treat. It has a similar appearance to grapefruit as we know it and the taste is much sugar needed!
Pomegranate Tree
The tropical climate on the island of Kauai allows these Pomegranate trees to grow upwards to 100 feet, producing pomegranates larger than I have even seen.
Diana Goddess of the Hunt Allerton Garden Rooms
Following the trail, we encounter this peaceful reflecting pool being overlooked by a beautiful Romanesque statue...and
Spilt Leaf Philodendron
over-sized philodendron and aerial roots lead us to another garden room.
Mermaid Room Sculpture and Fountain
One hundred year old Monkey Pod trees and naturally scalloped palms line the Mermaid Room, where a scalloped-shaped fountain creates a soothing water flow at a pace of about 52-54 pulses per minute. Allerton had this fountain designed in order to create a calming "Neptune Effect", which is achieved by sitting on the bench and allowing your mind to relax and heart rate to slow to the beat of the pulsating water.
Chinese Ceramic Urn
More unique sights are seen as we move along. This ancient Chinese urn is placed in just the right location in the gardens.
Three Reflection Pools Room Art
Next is this elongated, three-tiered reflection pool which is overlooked by a Sleeping Horse. This original Hawaiian artwork was purchased by Robert Allerton. It is important to note that all the reflection pools in the gardens are fed by underground springs.
Allerton Garden Opening Scene of Gilligan's Island
Do you remember the television series "Gilligan's Island"? This lagoon is where the filming of the opening scene took place.
Pink Quill Bromeliad and Orchid
Along the walk to the Bamboo Room is an abundance of tropical Bromeliads and Orchids. 
Clumping Bamboo (Non-Invasive)
This Bamboo Room was one of the first garden rooms that Robert Allerton came up with. Many do not know that Robert Allerton was partially deaf; therefore, he enjoyed the loud clicking and clacking of the bamboo reeds as they moved in the wind. This bamboo grove was also used in the filming of 'Pirates of the Caribbean IV:" when Captain Jack crossed over the bamboo bridge!
Crytostachys renda Lipstick Palm 
As we leave the Bamboo Room, we encounter a tropical Lipstick Palm. Its bright red bark was used to make dyes by the ancient Polynesians.
Moreton Bay Figs Kauai
Here are the famous Moreton Bay Figs. In 1992, Steven Spielberg filmed the movie "Jurassic Park" right here at this sight. If you remember the scene of the raptor eggs, they were placed in the root of the second tree, and the jeep scene took place in the third tree over. The Moreton Bay Fig, originally native to Australia was introduced to Allerton Gardens just 70 years ago. 
Moreton Bay Figs Kauai
The figs that were collected as saplings by Allerton and shipped in empty beer cans now have roots reaching 6-8 feet in height.
Palm Seeds
As we continue the tour, bright red palm tree seeds tower above our heads...
Vanilla Bean Orchid
and Vanilla Bean Orchid vines can be seen climbing up a palm tree.  If you are wondering if this is where vanilla comes are correct!
Heliconia (Lobster Claw)
Other sites are the beautiful and unusual blooms of Heliconia, also known as Lobster Claw Plant...
Staghorn Fern Allerton Garden
and Staghorn Fern hanging from the trees above.

Allerton Botanical Garden Kauai
I hope you enjoyed the tour of the beautiful Allerton Botanical Gardens in Kauai. For now it's Aloha or A hui hou...until we meet again.
Allerton Botanical Garden Kauai

For more information visit Allerton Botanical Gardens 

Visitors Center - 4425 Lawai Road, Poipu 96756

As Always...Happy Gardening!
Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening, Copyright 2016. All rights reserved

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow-Up November 2016: The Many Colors of Autumn

November 2016
Albert Camus once quoted, "Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower." His words recollect in my mind every fall as the landscape turns into a canvas of kaleidoscopic color. November has arrived and it is time for another Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Foliage Follow-Up, so come along with me as we explore my Long Island garden.
The Changing Colors of Autumn
As the temperatures dip into the 50's, there are so many changes going on in the landscape, as foliage that was once green turns to hues of orange and gold. As we start our walk we immediately come across some of nature's artwork. Sometimes something as simple as a lone leaf will appear like a well planned painting.
Hosta in Autumn
Structure becomes more of a prominent factor in the garden in November. Here is the exfoliating bark of Crape Myrtle 'Sioux'. The underlying trunk has a mixture of light and dark hues, which are more noticeable at this time of year as the top layer disappears.
Crape Myrtle Bark Autumn
Here is the back perennial border.  Astilbe and coneflowers have turned to seed heads, while Stachys (Lamb's Ear) still displays its soft white foliage, which will last well into the winter months.
Perennial Border November
These seed heads of Sedum 'Brilliant' make for nice interest in the fall garden and can even be brought inside as dried floral display, which I'll do on occassion.
Sedum 'Brilliant' Seed Head
The colors seem to be coming on much stronger this year, brought on by a prolonged period of drought followed by rainfall and cooler temperatures throughout this month and last. It's fascinating how the morning dew on this Spirea 'Limemound' is causing it to shimmer in the sunlight, resembling what looks like tiny pink crystals.
Morning Dew on Spirea
Here are the remains of Echinacea 'Pow Wow'. I leave the seed heads in the garden for a long time until they practically disintegrate. They add interest to the perennial border and supply seeds to the birds as well.
Echinacea Seed Heads
As we pass by the back northwest bed, we encounter one of the newest additions to the garden. The longtime wisteria that had thrived there for twenty years did not come back from the winter of 2016, so I replaced it with this 'Kousa' Dogwood.  I love this tree and the striking red fruit it produces in fall. Hopefully it will thrive in its new home.
Kousa Dogwood Autumn
Here is a closer look of the large fruit!
Kousa Dogwood Fruit
        The Weeping Japanese Maple on the front lawn has been there for over twenty years and is showing its wonderful fall foliage...a sight I look forward to every year.  
Weeping Japanese Maple
Perennial Border November
   Let's circle back around and pass by the perennial border another time. In this view is Blue Star Juniper on the right with astilbe seed heads...
Stachys (Lamb's Ear) November
and here is the Lamb's Ear much closer up.
Rudbeckia 'Little Goldstar' 
A true gardener never gives up thinking and adding new elements to the garden and I could not pass up these new hybrid Rudbeckia 'Little Goldstar', seen while at the nursery.  They are a dwarf growing form, only reaching a height of 14 inches tall.  Rudbeckia 'Little Goldstar' is hardy in USDA zones 4-9, prefers full sun to partial shade and blooms from September through fall. 
Weeping Norway Spruce
While many of the other plants in the garden go through seasonal changes, the true reliable evergreens continue to add interest all year long. I have several of these Weeping Norway Spruce throughout the property, for each one has its own unique form and character. This particular one resides along the perimeter of the back patio.
Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar, CoralBark Maple and Golden Oriental Spruce 'Skylands'
Other evergreens on the property include this Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar (front) and Golden Oriental Spruce (to the right). To the left of the spruce in the center is Coral Bark Maple Acer palmatum 'Sango kaku' and to the far left towering above is a White Ash.
May Night Salvia's Last Bloom
May Night Salvia is a favorite of mine in the garden and while they are only supposed to bloom throughout May until August, there is a trick in getting them to last all the way though November. Here are the last of the blooms.

Lady's Mantle
Lady's Mantle is known for its beautiful foliage, especially when graced by the morning dew. I have had this plant in my garden for many years and get lots of enjoyment from it.
Montauk Daisy
I have always had a fondness of Montauk Daisies over the years and they were also my mom's favorite flower. While at the nursery a couple of weeks ago I finally bought some. They bloom from late summer well into November, but do tend to take up a lot of space in the garden, so I planted them in a large planter on the patio. I am hoping to enjoy their beautiful blooms right from the window each fall, and think of mom each time I see them. 

Succulent Planter Autumn Blooms
Do you remember the other succulent planter I have with the Hens and Chicks, which bloomed last July? I had made up another planter with a mix of sedum varieties, and it is now also blooming. It started in late September and has been going on for some time now.
Mill Pond Autumn Glory
Well that's it for the garden, but the tour just wouldn't be complete unless I took you for a stroll down the street to the local pond. This is the sight we are graced with every year, ever since I was growing up in my small town. The beauty never ceases to amaze me, so I thought I would share it with you.
Mill Pond: The Changing Colors of Autumn
Autumn has arrived...
Autumn at Mill Pond
with a silent stillness...
Mill Pond Autumn Reflections
as the trees cast reflections in the water.
In A Vase on Monday

As the tour for November comes to an end, here are some Knock Out Roses I just collected from the garden...which...yes...are still blooming. Soon, delicate white flakes of snow will be upon them and they will be done for the season, so I enjoy them for as long as I can.
November Memories

I  hope you enjoyed your stroll through my November garden. Special thanks go out to our hostesses Carol at May Dreams Gardens, who makes it possible to see blooms on the 15th of every month with her meme Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Pam at Digging for hosting Foliage Follow-Up.  I am also linking with some other wonderful hosts and hostesses at Today's FlowersFloral FridaysI Heart MacroMacro Monday 2, and Nature Notes at Rambling Woods. Also check out What's Blooming This Week Garden UpdateIn a Vase on Monday at Rambling in the Garden, Garden Bloggers' Foliage Day and Saturday's Critters.

Planning your garden for next spring and need some winter reading? Have you read my bookA Guide to Northeastern Gardening: Journeys of a Garden Designer (Gardening in Zones 3-9)? It covers a wide range of information on garden design, tips, maintenance and more! If you have read my book and found it to be helpful, please consider leaving a short review on Amazon. Reviews are vital in getting a book noticed and your help would be very much appreciated!

As Always...Happy Gardening!

Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening, © Copyright 2016. All rights reserved