Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Hot, the Loud, and the Proud #3


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.

The end of the month is always very hectic for me and I will be on a vacation for most of June. I will be going to Washington DC to see my niece participate in the Scripts National Spelling Bee for the first time, it should be a crazy time for our family. Also, I will be doing a layover back in the San Francisco Bay area for a few more weeks to visit more friends and family I haven't seen in awhile. Hopefully, I will be able to see some amazing gardens in both areas and show them for future posts.

For this month's hot and proud, I am featuring a beautiful tree I saw recently when I went to a natural farm tour here in East Hawaii.  Amherstia Nobilis or the Pride of Burma is a really exotic tree that just stops you dead in your foot steps when you see it blooming. It is in the genus Amherstia but it is also considered a bauhinia or orchid tree. The striking flowers have an amazing and long inflorescence of delicate flowers of hot crimson with yellow edges and yellow polka dots, white throats with pale pink stamens and five petals.

The trees tend be taller and max out at around forty feet.  The first time I saw one of these trees in Thailand, the entire tree was all in bloom with so many stalks of cascades of hot pink, I couldn't stop walking around the tree and taking dozens of photos. I couldn't help having someone take a shot of me with my favorite tree here in East Hawaii.

Here's a close up of some of the flowers, gorgeous aren't they?

Wasn't that a great show for today's hot, loud and proud meme?

To link a post, or to view on the Hot, the Loud and the Proud Meme, see the link below

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Fantasy Filipino Fiesta in Hawaii

Our International Cooking group is celebrating the Philippines tonight with a fiesta in East Hawaii, it was a beautiful event held last night.  Most of the diners from our cooking group love to experience new cuisines, enjoy the food and spend the time to catch up and talk about the various ingredients and dishes made throughout the Philippine Islands.

The event started with a vinegar tasting and demonstration. Filipinos use many differents types of vinegar to first extend the shelf life of their dishes and to add an accent sour flavoring. Vinegar is used in many of their dishes, including marinades, sauces, soups and a variety of meats, fishes, vegetables, stir fries and all manners of uses. We tasted palm, coconut and a sugar cane vinegar and learned about the different uses for each vinegar.

Afterwards, we had a cooking demonstration making a local lumpia dish where you have to separate the lumpia wrappers and then fill them with a shrimp, pork and vegetable mix topped with a glazed sweet sauce, raw minced garlic and peanuts, quite an interesting mixture of sweet and sour and pungent garlic.

This followed with another dish called ukoy made of shrimp, onions and juilienned potatoes finished with our sour vinegar and pepper sauce that we made in the demonstration.

As you can see all the centerpieces, the bar and serving areas were filled with our exotic orchids and tropical plants which added to the visual and tropical experience of the fiesta.

The flowers are inserted into large bamboo poles like a horizontal vase that covered the entire table below

Aaaah, its time to start with the appetizers and the main course...see how quickly our group heads to the star attraction... which is the eating!

Seating around and eating...everyone is quiet and concentrating on the different dishes, sauces and food sensations that many are not accustomed to eating with Filipino dishes.

The last event was a talk about the native plants that are grown and prepared for the typical meal, then an amazing slide show presentation, highlighting the various cultures and history of this nation of over 7,000 islands, quite a mixture of many culture and influences.

A few more shots of friends that showed up for the event and even dressed in local tribal outfits and other Filipino attire.

Thank you for coming and visiting our event, I hope you enjoyed our Sunday Fiesta from the Philippines...come and take any of the orchid displays home if you wish they should last you awhile since the flowers were just picked this morning.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Please Help with Your Vote to Replenish our Food Bank


Aloha friends,

Could you help with a vote for Rose's project – its free!  Rose Acevedo is a board member of the Sierra Club. Here's what she's up to feed our local food bank in Hawaii.


Pepsi Co. Refresh Project is offering a million dollars every month for great ideas that support local communities.

My idea, FRUITBUSTERS, to help feed the hungry in East Hawaii was approved by Pepsi on May 1st.  The goal of FRUITBUSTERS is to develop a small crew who will rescue all the ripe fruit from trees whose owners can’t do their own picking.  This abundance of fruit will then be donated to food banks and meal programs in our area.

We need your support, so please log on below to vote. Everyone who registers can vote EVERY DAY until May 31. 

Thank you for your vote,

Rose Acevedo

Picking fruit, that would otherwise just fall to the ground and go uneaten, and donating to our local Foodbank  is a wonderful idea.  Please help us by voting for this project below.






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Thursday, May 13, 2010

More Than Half Off, I Want it All


There are those amazing gardening moments when you just have to pinch yourself for being at the right time and the right place to find amazing plant deals, and boy do I mean deals!

A gardening acquaintance of mine grows these amazing Proteas and Leucadendrons in the South Part of Hawaii Island to sell their amazing and exotic flowers. Recently, his whole district has been receiving alot of damaging vog (volcanic emissions) which affects the leaves and renders the flowers unable to sell, so he has been starting to liquidate his smaller potted plant stock.
Everything you see here are gallon size containers and he was selling these only for a buck apiece. Usually in the mainland, these easy go for $20 apiece.


I just had to grab his last leptospermum and it was just starting its bloom cycle which should easily last a few weeks.


There were no labels on this plant, I’m guessing that it could be a Leucadendron Safari Sunset. What do you think this is?


Now this I know is the King Protea Cynaroides, I’m looking forward to seeing these
with their gigantic blooms, but I’m sure that is a quite few years down the road.


Here’s another unmarked plant which I think is a Grevillea…anyone know which variety this could be?


Here’s a Leucadendron with reddish leaves, also no clue about the variety.


I’m still pinching myself and looking forward to putting these in the ground, although
I haven’t decided where these will go since they all take up a lot of space.  Its always
a good day when I can find a good garden bargain like these!

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Monday, May 10, 2010

A Trip Back to Makuu Farmer’s Market


I like to go to our Sunday farmer’s market for my weekly provisions, finding new plants and just bumping into old friends and vendors I have built a relationship with. Its a very festive environment filled with food venues, entertainment and they even teach free Hawaiian language and Ukulehe classes there.

Who wants some of these beautiful bromeliads, $5 each or 3 for $10…you choose any size!


I think I’m going to get some tomato starts and other starters today since the slugs ate most of my little seedlings…they are voracious here. I’m getting 10 starters for only $5 or 50 cents each…what a deal! Today, I’m getting some bok choy, thai basil, various lettuce, tomatoes and tatsui…now I need to find a way to get the slugs to stop visiting my garden…


How about trying a nice freshly made crepe,  this one is made with shrimp and fresh avocadoes, basil and other herbs.


Looks ono….eh???? (local expression for delicious)


I love seeing this guy do his work here and make these beautiful pieces of art, he also finds the most amazing trees to bonsai.


Isn’t this one just spectacular?


Boy, its getting hot and muggy today, time to get some fresh coconuts to drink and then scoop up the delicious creamy coconut meat, he will even make a little coconut spoon for you to scoop out the meat.


This is interesting, know why most of the vegetables are wrapped up?  There’s so many bugs, fruitflies that the vendors do not want their produced blemished and picky buyers here only want the best produce!


I hope you enjoyed our farmer’s market today, we always find some fresh and inexpensive things to bring back home….aloha!

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Friday, May 7, 2010

Nature Will Bear the Closest Inspection


 Nature will bear the closest inspection.  She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain.  ~Henry David Thoreau

This is my re-interpretation of Henry David Thoreau’s wonderful quote and this theme occurs regularly in my garden, especially when I take my morning walks to see what is happening.
Sometimes I get beautiful flowers to greet me during my morning walks.


A new leaf unfurls into the world, reaching for the sky with its beautifully colored foliage.


Other times I get some amazing fruit that I can harvest and even share with friends when there’s abundance, right now I have hundreds of avocados on my tree and having been sharing with all my friends here.


All of this I see everyday in my garden, when I take the time to visit and closely see these treasures unveil themselves to me.

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Sunday, May 2, 2010

May Day is Lei Day

Happy May Day and also Lei Day ....this beautiful annual celebration that happens throughout Hawaii and was started in 1928 to celebrate the tradition of making and giving leis to friends and family.

Today we celebrate spring, colors, flowers and sharing our aloha with leis.

Celebrations happen throughout the islands and here in Hawaii there are many festivals arranged to cover this wonderful celebration including demonstrations, lei competitions, craft shows, hula and many other festivities.

As I was touring some of the fun events that happened today, I spent some time at a demonstration booth were some women were making head and neck leis with different approaches.

The head leis were first braided together with dried pandanus (lauhala) leaves and then fresh flowers and various beads and leaf material are added. The final product similar to the second photo from the top.

The neck lei here is braided using fresh pandanus leaves and the ladies anchor the ends with their feet so they can align the braids better and have two hands to work with and add all the fresh flowers and added plant material.

This is what the entire look would be as an ensemble as shown by this beautiful tutu (grandmother)

Its very interesting to watch the process being made, at these demonstrations, they actually let you make your own lei after observing and with helpful hands, you can take one home yourself for lei day.

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