Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Hot, the Loud and the Proud #10

Show us your tropicals and exotics, your hot Mediterranean colors and wild combinations, amazing discoveries and unusual variations. Or how about something exciting you just saw, a crazy garden,  amazing garden art or design, an inspiring visit or hike?
This meme is open to all (you do not have to live in an exotic location to participate)  and will be on the last day of each month…so mark your calendars and lets do something fun on the hot, the loud and the proud meme. I’ll have the link available early, east coast time (USA) to catch you early birds and even earlier for those of you in other countries.
As I walk around my garden yesterday, I noticed how many of the various hibiscus flowers are blooming and I thought, I should just do a post on these wonderful plants that constantly give me year round blooms. No extra pampering outside of the major trimming i have to do every now and then for the more aggressive plants that give me shoots over six feet to ten feet in length.

This is the first hibiscus plant I purchased at our local farmers market and its been in the ground for over two years. I have to trim it aggressively every season since it can get over 15 feet in height and show these beautiful blooms on the tips.


I think I’m partially drawn to the hot pinks and fuchsia colors, they just scream tropical and loud with the sea of green foliage plants in my garden.


This pink with the darker red throat is also a nice addition to the garden, its set next to some white plumerias and create a complementary look in a quiet corner of the garden.


These double flowered specimens are so hardy and give blooms all the time even when the garden is quiet with tropical colors.


I love this orange and brown double beauty, its been a very fussy plant and only gives me the occasional bloom, since its relatively young addition to the garden. Hopefully, it once it is more established and robust, I'll be getting more of these spectacular blooms.  Meanwhile when I get the occasional flower bloom – I really take the time to admire every detail and fold.


This lemon yellow in my front yard is also such a giving plant in terms of color and I picked it purposely to match the color of the siding and contrast this with purple foliaged plants and flowers.


I think this is one of my favorites and it too is a newer addition to the garden…don’t you think its just stunning?

Well that’s the hibiscus collection, I think its time to start looking for more interesting colors to add to my garden. Hope you enjoyed the tour.

Come and visit some of my other garden friends below to see what’s hot in their gardens today

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Morning Walk Around the Garden in Winter




I love to take my morning walks around the garden to see what’s new and if any new flower is opening to greet me today.  The weather this morning is spotty, nice pockets of sun interspersed with light downpours, typical of East Hawaii in winter. It reminds me of this favorite song that asks “Have you ever seen the rain…. coming down on a bright sunny day?”  Yes, here it could be raining in one block and just down the road sunny beautiful skies all at once.


A new miniature ginger blossom just starting to unfold




Anyway as I’m walking around the front yard I see one of my favorites greeting me this morning. It is a tropical rhododendron vireya called Aravir, sweetly scented like perfume with jasmine undertones.




Take a look at one of these hibiscus flowers coming out in full bloom, the stems are literally fifteen foot tall, I think its time for major trimming again which in this garden never seems to end – things just grow too quickly.




A close up detail.




Here’s a real charmer in my side yard, it’s a lemon yellow anthurium, quite unique don’t you think? I just captured some morning rain still dripping down the front petal.



Here’s a wild patch of purple anthuriums, coleus and the pesky sword ferns that are real weeds here and pop everywhere to my chagrin. The purple turns into white when they get older and in the ground can last up to a month’s time frame.



in a quite corner of the front yard is this hot fuschia bromeliad surrounded by pink geraniums and coleus and that pesky sword fern again.




This hibiscus plant in the front yard is so hardy, I keep cutting it back severely every month and it stills sends out branches now over six feet tall, sometimes things grow just to quickly out here in the garden, lots of maintenance to do even during winter time.



This patch of New Zealand impatiens I keep taking cuttings to start off new plants, and it showers me with even more flowers, I love this plant.




One of my mini cymbidiums on my back patio, this is my third set of blooms this year from this sweet plant.



Our native hibiscus is a beautiful white with a hot red column and anthers, its perfect.



This hot pink medinilla has been blooming for over three months now and the beautiful berries will turn a deep purple color on these same cascades lasting another month or so.




In my front entry is this sweet vireya and lightly perfumed in the morning, I just had a nice flush of flowers and this is the last grouping to bloom from this miniature.


This is my contribution to Garden Bloom Day, to see other wonderful gardens blooming today go to

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Time for Mushroom Picking


Mushroom picking in Hawaii is very unique in that the over 300 + varieties in Hawaii are truly unique and some not even named.  It was very helpful that we had the guide of one of the premier mycologists from the Big Island, Don Hemmes, with the University of Hawaii lead our photo enthusiasts on a tour along the puna  coastline to discover some of the rare, dangerous and even edible mushrooms.


Apparently you would think that the cooler and higher elevation locations where most of the larger trees are located would be an ideal mushroom hunting area which it is true in some cases. But we assembled at Issaac Hale State Park which is on the most eastern part of Hawaii and along the shoreline, it is dotted with huge Albizia trees, coconut groves and other shoreline flora that actually is quite lush in this natural habitat.
What is unique to this experience was having a gaggle (at least 20) of avid photographers follow Mr. Hemmes around this exciting area to find many of the abundant mushrooms growing here. 

The park is quite rugged with cliffs battered by the rough seas, there are beautiful lava tubes and coconut groves that go on endlessly along the shorelines and it is quite stunning to walk through.


we learn that Mr. Hemmes has in fact lead and named many of his discoveries in this area, and he has published many of the endemic varieties found in this zone into books.  He encourages us to look for some of the rare mushrooms that we are on the hunt for like the earth stars and the Geastrum Lycheeforum.
One of the more abundant mushrooms coming up from the flush of heavy rains were these white Amanita Marmorata mushrooms. Found mostly under the huge albizia trees, these mushrooms are the cousins of the extremely deadly white death caps that many mistake for an edible variety, and can become very ill or even die from a very small sample. Needless to say no-one wanted to even try any of the edible varieties after some discussion about careless forays.


We came upon a variety of really unique mushrooms including some of the following below:

Netted Stinkhorn or Dictyohora Cinabarrina which smelled like rotting manure but also has edible stalks and are grown extensively in Asia for food.



Here is the beautiful Earth stars or Agaricomycetes mushrooms under some leaves.


These edible Geastrum Lycheeforum were name by Mr. Hemmes because they resemble the delicious Lychee fruit. They are supposed to taste similar to puff ball mushrooms.


Here is another type that is supposed to have a shiitake like flavor, it grows very well under this secret canopy of coconuts in an area Mr. Hemmes considers the holy grail of rare mushrooms.


Our photo group pausing for a photo op before we go on our mushroom hunt.


Hope you enjoyed the tour along the coastline, isn't it a beautiful area to discover the treasures low to the ground?

To see other beautiful blooms for fertilzer friday go and visit

This is my contribution to scenic sunday to visit more go to

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Hot, the Loud and the Proud #9

Show us your tropicals and exotics, your hot Mediterranean colors and wild combinations, amazing discoveries and unusual variations. Or how about something exciting you just saw, a crazy garden,  amazing garden art or design, an inspiring visit or hike?
This meme is open to all (you do not have to live in an exotic location to participate)  and will be on the last day of each month…so mark your calendars and lets do something fun on the hot, the loud and the proud meme. I’ll have the link available early, east coast time (USA) to catch you early birds and even earlier for those of you in other countries.


Its hard to believe that we are at the start of December and celebrating another hot meme. This month, I’m visiting one of the most popular orchid nurseries on the Big Island called Akatsuka Orchid Gardens up in Volcano with over 200,000 orchids growing in their specialty nursery. At Akatsukas, they specialize in Cattleyas and other hybrid orchids including orchids with scented blooms. A typical hybridized orchid takes up to 5 years to mature from a a tissue cutting to full bloom.

On my way around the display gardens, I found quite a few worth sniffing and admiring some of the more exotic hybrids that they are growing here.

As I mentioned, they are specialty growers of cattleyas especially the scented variety and this first one had a faint whiff of a plumeria.  The vivid purple hues are enough to attract any attention, but the added scent makes you want to stop and enjoy the blooms for a longer time frame.


This black lady slipper/ paphiopedilum caught my eye right away, its striped black on black with dark purple petals are very bold and truly make a statement to any orchids in the display garden. The bottom photo shows the flower starting to come out, it looks more like an alien warship about to take off.



This newer hybrid, I could not even locate a label for so I’m assuming it is not yet named. I haven’t seen this type of orchid with frilly petals and a white green color combination. It is absolutely stunning.

A few more exotic paphiopedilums ordhids on display.


Hope you enjoyed the tour, if you can’t visit this in person, they have a wonderful website to check out what’s happening at

To see other posts to the Hot, the Loud and the Proud please click any of the links below and enjoy your visit.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Sweet November Bloomer



Aaaah yes, its that time of the year when the tropical rhododendrons or vireyas are in bloom in Hawaii. Actually they bloom year round, but the heavy flushes are coming out during the winter season. Its quite a show.

One of my early bloomers just started to come out in the front yard and it reminds me of why I just love these beauties, isn’t it sweet to greet me this morning?  This one has a faint morning scent, like vanilla and rose combined, just the right thing to whiff on the way out the door.




To see more beautiful flowers today go and visit

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Room with a Tropical View





While celebrating a group chorus party at the home of our choral director, I noticed the beautiful view from the lanai (outdoor covered room) to this beautiful tropical paradise with rolling lava rocks used as a nice foil to the colorful plants dotting the landscape.

Abundant gingers, heliconias, tis, palms and ferns seem to flourish and grow effortlessly here with no help. This natural garden looks so well placed, and let me say that it takes a lot of effort to pull this look together.  Its not an easy task, let me just explain that most gardens here tend to be filled with solid lava rock that is very difficult to penetrate, with almost no soil or little soil to grow with and weeds galore that seem to find all the right cracks to grow so well.

So to get this effortless look, one has to create beds or berms or the alternate choice – use a jack hammer and drill for large holes which is almost impossible. One can also look for cracks, holes or shallow depressions to fill with soil and create beds which is a very common way to garden and create beds in this hospitable growing condition.

Water features like this are also difficult to create without the water just oozing through the lava rock, and with all the evaporation from hot, humid days, these types of ponds disappear quickly without constant care and attention.

But as you can see, the garden and ponds are a nice visual focal point from the lanai. This area is an ideal view garden filled with colors, textures and shapes and is very pleasing to the eye and one that can be viewed daily without getting tired of the imagery.


This is my contribution for fertilizer friday, to see more beautiful gardens today go and visit tootsie at

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Beautiful Winery and Garden


One of my favorite wineries with an inspiring garden has to be Chateau St. Jean in Sonoma County which I visited recently late October. It has that quintessential look of an old world style winery with a walled garden filled with vines growing all around and creating this entryway filled with surprises to delight all who enter.


And it is a surprise once you enter, you have to walk through the garden first before you get to the tasting rooms. This garden really delights all your senses, beautiful gurgling sounds from a water fountain, sweet smelling roses, walking through graveled pathways,a trimmed formal garden with elegant statuary and flowers and even the rustling palms add so much to this visual experience.

Beautiful antique and hybrid roses dot various areas around the walled gardens.



It all adds up to a welcoming experience even before you get a chance to taste their wonderful wines. They add some beautiful seating areas around the gardens and home so you can savor their wines and enjoy the views of the garden and the vineyards.



Colorful plant vignettes like this hand cart filled with flowering perennials line the pathways.



So many beautiful views with entryways filled with vines and potted plants filled with colorful annuals dot the entire winery.



Its enough to spend the afternoon walking around the gardens, but with a nice bottle of St. Jean wines in hand its even more memorable.

To visit other gardens for fertilizer friday go to
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