Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Scented Rhododendron Called Aravir




This is one of my new favorite flowers in bloom, its a tropical rhododendron or Vireya called Aravir. I recently did a post on this when I visited the White Cloud Nursery and show garden here in East Hawaii.

After spotting this beautiful vireya, I knew I just had to have one, (how can you not visit a nursery and go away empty handed) ?  My new love Aravir, is a real showstopper. It is heavenly scented with soft perfumy and jasmine overtones. Those large white flowers bloom regularly during the year, and I have it planted in the font walkway so I can catch a whiff on my daily walks.

I’ve even taken a few cuttings already since they propagate very easily in cinder soil. Since these plants are ephiphytes, they grow easily in tropical environments, but you can easily make them comfortable in your garden with a minimum of fuss as a potted plant that you can spritz occasionally.

Oh Aravir, Aravir …. how you make my morning walks complete ( I know real corny, but thats the way I like it sometimes).

To see more amazing flowers from today go to

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Skywatch Friday – A New Dawn at the Waters Edge



Another new dawn begins in Puna on the Eastern Side of Hawaii Island, I crawled out of bed early even though the sunrise is late at 7am in our land.


But I’m glad I woke up early…..


                         … because mornings are truly special and worth taking a moment of your day to reflect and appreciate the simple things in life and how you want your day to begin.







See….its truly special doing this and worth the effort, thanks for sharing the moment with me.


                                                       Happy Aloha Friday to you.

A Visit to The Arboretum at San Francisco


(cover picture is Isopogon Formosus or the rose cone flower, a beauty isn’t it?)

I still have a few pictures left of My wonderful December trip to San Francisco and wanted to put this last tour together of a wonderful day at the Arboretum, would you care to join me?

It’s going to be another beautiful day for a morning walk around San Francisco and this time I’ll take you to Golden Gate park to my favorite arboretum in the city.  It’s still a little chilly outside so bring your warm coat and maybe a muffler. By the way, just to set the mood go ahead and click on the you tube play button below and then we can get started once the music begins.


Lets walk in through the front gates, there doesn’t seem to be anyone here in the garden. We will have more time to admire and see the more intimate parts of the arboretum’s gardens without a crowd behind us. I just love the entryway to the garden. This just showcases all the unique plants that are part of the five mediterranean zones that are covered in this arboretum, along with a cloud forest, two asian gardens, a pre-historic garden, an herb garden, a bamboo grove and an intimate library garden.

The entry garden is exciting, there are unusual combinations from all the zones above and exotic textures that are combined in interesting juxtapositions.




In front of us is the great expanse of large trees and the main lawn and pathways leading to various gardens. We’ll take a small loop around the areas that I’m interested in and have some activity and blooms happening at the moment which is alot for this time of the year.


To the right is a small sitting garden next to the botanical library, it has alot of large stones that were salvage from some old architectural sites around San Francisco and is used for a tranquil setting with various reeds, grasses and leucadendrons.



A little further down is the South African Garden, there are some major renovations going on there and in the California zones so we will only be able to take a small tour of those areas still  open. But fortunately, there were still some nice blooming plants happening at the moment.






One of my favorite silver trees, leucadendron argentium.


We are now taking this round walkway through more tall evergreens and another view of another grassy lawn area, its a very popular sun bathing spot during the summer since its sheltered by all the large trees.


We are heading to a more intimate Japanese garden, not quite as grandiose as the Main Japanese garden in the concourse area. There’s a small entryway to the garden, do you see it?


Ah yes, we found it, lets take the pathway to the small deck that over looks a small pond with acers , various grasses and some stone statues.





Another vista of a larger lawn with more large cypresses and pines.


Would you like to take a rest in this pavilion and just watch the scene unfold around the garden for a bit?  I brought some home made chocolate chip cookies for us to share, its yummy!


We will be going through the next Mediterranean zone which is the Australian Garden and hopefully we will be able to see some more interesting plants that are blooming there.

I love Grevilleas and the gardens are filled with blooming flowers right now especially this Grevillea Victoriae.


A deep red Anigozanthos in bloom.


There’s a beautiful area of blooming Banksias in this seating area, I wish I could spot a tag for this particular species, I’m guessing Banksia Ericifolia




As you can see I also love Australian mediterranean plants since I’ve actually learned to pronounce their botanical names over and over again until I finally got it.

The last garden we will visit is close to another gate entrance and its the Pre-historic dinosaur garden. Usually in summertime the garden has these amazingly large leafed Gunnera plants, melianthus and tall tree ferns, but they are hibernating now, but there is still alot to see here so lets go.


The cycads are still beautiful with their leaves intact this winter morning.


Look a gorgeous Mahonia Acquifolium is blooming today just for us!





Another cluster of blooming Mahonia with striking yellow spikes.



Well we are at the end of the tour, not enough time to visit some of the other gardens, so we’ll just have to re-visit them for another time. Here’s just one more photo at the side entrance that we will be exiting from.


Well that was truly an inspiring walk don’t you think?  We should congratulate ourselves for burning alot of calories this morning. Thanks again for joining me until we meet again!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Watery Wednesday by The Ocean In East Hawaii.

I went down to see the ocean today, just to contemplate and reflect for short while. The sun was incredibly hot even though there were lots of dark clouds in the sky.


I watched the ebb and flow, the immediate rush and thrusting of waves on impenetrable lava rock.


Then quickly receding back to the open waters…so hypnotic especially under the hot intense sun.


It left me in a very dream like state,  just like the grasses slowly blowing with gentle tradewinds soothing my soul.


Aaaaah, it was worth it to drive out here just to breath and relax.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Your Invited to a Wine and Food Pairing Today.

When our international cooking group has special events held like this wine tasting and pairing event, all the foodaholics in our cooking group come out in droves. Our hostess, Janet has assembled some amazing and delicious food and wine combinations that even the most jaded connoiseur can learn and appreciate from this event.

Here are some highlights from the days events.

Isn't this the most delicious tray of chocolates and fresh fruit, everything seems to be dripping with some exciting sensations. I would like to try some more please?

How about a sample taste of an apricot with extra sharp dry cheddar and match that with a dry gewurstraminer or a nice reisling?

Oh, what a lovely floral arrangement this is, but why is it moving?

Oh I'm sorry, excuse me....

My friend Janet and her accomplice Ron are such photo hams, they really add sparkle to any food related event, thank god!

Alright, does everyone have their wine glasses ready, let the tasting begin!

Oh its soo hard to choose what I want with these lushious strawberries and truffles, a nice glass of champagne or a delicious pinot noire, maybe I'll do both.

Let me just give you a heads up on some of what you'll be sampling on our pairings today, but first let me just warn you that if you drinky a little too much now and fall off the railings....none of the rest of the drunkies in this group will notice, so take care and enjoy :)

Okay I think some of these group has had a little too much sampling going on and probably didn't sample any of the food pairings either!

What are you doing with that last bottle of wine there....its for everyone to share!

Oh look all bottles empty and not a drop to spare, what a successful event!

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