Friday, July 30, 2010

The Hot, the Loud, and the Proud #5


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 our monthly hot meme and for August I’m taking you on a tour of my friend, Carol’s beautiful garden here in Orchidland, Hawaii.  This is truly an amazing tropical paradise filled with many  tropicals flora and exotics. Instead of various outdoor rooms focusing on specific plant genera like many of the collectors here on the island, Carol’s garden is made up of long walkways with large beds on both sides, the walkways snake throughout the various parts of this magical garden filled with color, texture, variegated forms, unusual shapes and exotic scents.

They are quite the collectors, amassing an array of unusual and rare palms, bromeliads,  bamboo,  hoyas, orchids, unusual gingers and heliconiias and aromatic beauties that you discover at every corner.


At the front entry to the home is a colorful collection with different varieties of bromeliads. dracaenas, coleus, pothos, various variegated plants and a huge Medinilla magnifica that was setting up huge cascade of blooms.


I spotted this gorgeous combination of a ti plant, with a beautiful agave in the background and this euphorbia in the foreground. Carol is really into layering many shapes, colors and sizes into different garden vignettes.


Passing through this area, I spotted this beautiful alpinia that I asked Carol about since it is rare. I wish I didn’t lose that small note which identified this beauty. The picture below shows a nicer close up of its flower with some rain droplets jewels.



A very unassuming, yet stunning cattleya blooming between some rocks cast a beautiful morning glow and makes me pay attention and admire its beauty.


There are many shady areas along these paths created by various heliconias, bananas, and a huge travelers palm, in the background of this trail is a large stand of crotons that are the size of miniature trees.


This heliconia Caribaea Jacquinii grabs my attention right away and the different shades of green leaves add layers of green texture to this photograph.


These red sealing wax palms or Crytostachys lakka are extremely slow growing and therefore a very expensive acquisition.  Even plants that are in the ground like this can take decades to start showing the red culmed crowns that create its shocking coloration.


Here is a detail shot of another Medinilla Magnifica which is the size of a tree in her garden. So many cascades of these pink flowers cover the entire plant at this time of year.


Is this starting to become sensory overload? Well if so, we’ll continue this tour for another segment since there’s a lot more I would love to show you blooming in Carol’s garden. It is an amazing place and to think only her husband and herself maintain this large twelve acre parcel on their own.

I hope you enjoy this tour for our Hot, loud and proud meme. Come and view the other posts below from our other participants.
To link a post or to view on the Hot, the Loud and the Proud Meme, see the link below

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Photowalk Competition




I can't believe I'm waking up at 5am Saturday morning to take some morning pictures with a photo club I've just joined recently here in Hawaii. And now my first photo tour with them is to do a photowalk around Hilo Bay with an early sunrise start.  But this will not be any morning excursion, its a world wide photo walk and competition with over 30,000 registered participants that will compete in one single day of shooting to submit only one photo for consideration as their best work.

It was tough making a decision on the one, but I have boiled it down to two shots below done in the early morning light, more diffused but with a lot of detail and a hint of a tropical environment. Maybe you can help me choose the best of the two?







So which of the two looks more like a winning photo to you, they are a little similar except for the foreground with different rock studies.


Along the way, I did stop at the Japanese garden close by to take some practice shots, unfortunately, there wasn’t enough good light to make these make my top considerations, but I’m showing them to you anyway so you get to see photos of this beautiful park in Hilo.



















In a quiet corner is this beautiful shady grove with thousands of colorful impatiens in hot colors, it just lit up this little corner.




Hope you enjoyed the tour, please help me select the final cut.  To enjoy more views of the world on Tuesday go visit

Monday, July 19, 2010

Garden Treasures





One of my favorite art/design/garden meccas is called Artefact Design and Salvage located in Cornerstone at Sonoma, California. Its an exciting gallery of found art, salvaged finds, garden objects and statuary, plants, books and awe inspiring displays…the entire gallery is a huge expanse of imagination and playful vignettes gone wild!



This designed inspired gallery is visual delight filled with many assemblages and well crafted displays. I am always impressed with the combinations of old, found and new things that make a well crafted vignette…you just can’t stop spending your whole time just seeing all these amazing collections. This hand carved eagle is over ten feet in width alone (you’ll need a very large consol to hold this up)



I can’t stop reaching and trying to touch every display filled with many tactile objects and such beautiful collections that make you ooh and aaaah at every display





Its seems like the owners here have mastered the technique of display and creative vignettes that tell a story and draw you into this space and want you to take all these treasures home with you…here’s a well honed display of succulents in carved out stone containers, I love the organic touch.



Outside the shop is a huge area of amazing salvaged finds from around the globe, varying from limestone statuary of goddesses to bronzed buddhas and wooden carved emperors, kings along with the ubiquitous lion head fountains.










Back inside I discover this strange collection of headless cupie like dolls, very strange and yet appealing in the right element….I’m not sure if you can plant anything in the containers above the body…what do you think about a succulent?



I find this collection of soup bowls, tea pots and a bulldog so whimsical, it just makes me smile.



I’m very attracted to this buddha and the large petrified wood behind it….fortunately none of this will fit my suitcase or my pocket book for my trip back home!



This place is a real find and design inspiration, I truly hope it makes it during these tough economic times even in fashionable Sonoma, where these unique galleries are disappearing very quickly.  I hope to keep visiting this area and still seeing this gallery operating.




If your visiting Sonoma, come visit cornerstone and the Artefact Design and Salvage, I’m sure you will be inspired by this gallery, its a very special place.


To see other world views on tuesday go visit

Thursday, July 15, 2010






This is exactly how I feel about this amazing shrub or tree, it just radiates and sparkles with such wild abandon. It wants to take up all your focus and attention because it says boldly to all “ Yes, I bloom today just for your wondering eyes, isn’t it just so?”





The Metrosideros polymorpha or Ohia Lehua is a Hawaiian native tree that grows very well throughout the Hawaiian islands especially in East Hawaii where they are abundant and wild.   Typically the most common color is the red Ohia Lehua tree which blooms sporadically throughout the year, but has its main flush of blooms in spring time and the whole tree is filled with red colors. This yellow Ohia is more rare and is quite impressive don’t you think?


The Ohia Lehua has many cultural and historic references to Hawaiian lifestyle, history and use. Early Hawaiians revered this small tree as a construction material for their homes, tools, ships and weapons. The flowers and leaf buds were used for making leis. The flowers were also used medicinally for pain during childbirth. This is clearly one of my favorite trees on the island and when they bloom they really do put on a show in this mostly green landscape.


For more exciting views of beautiful blooms go visit

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

They Still Bloom Here


When you picture views of the Golden Gate you always end up seeing photo’s entirely of the bridge, or the bridge and the city, or mostly views on the bridge over looking the city, in a very dense and populated city filled with sky scrapers. But just on the other side of the Golden Gate is a well preserved and unspoiled naturalized area, with amazing coastal views and of course another look towards the Golden Gate, but with an entirely nature inspired panorama.


Yes, this view is different, thanks to the well cared efforts of the Presidio Trust, these open areas are now filled with coastal trails, beautiful beaches and amazing wild flowers when they are in season and this is just the right time to see the beautiful flora.  Time is standing still at this moment and time, the views are quite impressive, don’t you think?



Amazing native wildflowers are blooming again with Indian paintbrush, yellow lupines and yarrow, angelica, thistle and various natives I couldn’t identify in blues, whites and silvers.  They all create this aura of an earlier period even prior to the bridge’s existence. A time when traveling was limited to horse carriages or tall wooden ships crossing the bay.  You can actually see pristine coastal bays and inlets where one could easily catch bass, salmon and many types of fish that filled the bay, or trawl for abalone, mussels and crab, then and find deer and other meat for sustenance around the forested hilly areas of the cities seven hills.



This doesn’t feel or look like the current San Francisco of today, but it does still exist and to take a trail walk from the Golden Gate through Marshall Beach, connecting to Baker Beach and on to Land’s End is truly amazing. This continuous coastal trail covering the entire length of the Golden Gate to the Cliff house and through the long stretched beach of ocean beach is an endless treasure of nature still in existence in this densely populated city.

I hope you enjoyed these beautiful wildflower views, to see other nature inspired views go visit

To see other amazing watery views go visit

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Grey Day Turned To Blue


One of my favorite pastimes visiting California, is hiking the various hills and trails up in Sonoma County. I remember waking up early to do an early morning hike with my friend Julie up in Chalk Hill, just outside of Healdsburg… Brrr, it was actually cold that morning and very cloudy. I’m not sure I was ready for that hike and the ground was really wet which worried me since I only had one pair of tennis shoes I brought for my trip and have no alternates if I get it wet for the remainder of my visit.

We started off a very steep climb up worn paths and grassy areas and in just a few minutes my sneakers and socks were soaking wet from all the wet morning dew, a very uncomfortable feeling and I wondered what would I do if I could not dry my shoes quickly for some other events planned for the rest of the day….oh well just block it out!


Julie’s dog Daisy, was having the best time exploring the hills with her friend and discovering some new scents and plenty of distractions.


In spite of my endless gripe about wet shoes and up hill climbing, the views climbing up this pathway were awe inspiring.


Amazing old and gnarly oak trees bending in unusual angles and curving to the ground instead of the sky.



The strong scent of wild California Buckeye's permeated the air, reminding me of how wonderful this time of the year is with all the wildflowers coming into bloom. In between, beautiful vistas of premiere vineyards and peek-a-boo views of the Sonoma countryside make you stop and just admire these inspiration scenes.


Gorgeous Spanish Moss dangling like crystal garlands from these stately oaks


Along the way we past some discards that were turned into functional art pieces and beautiful sculpture….shhh - this is a private part of the countryside, don’t tell anyone we are tress passing.


How’s this for a throne chair?


Finally the piece that says beware…danger. No, its just too loveable!


Okay, I guess the hike is done, even Daisy is pooped out and wants to play with her stick instead….It was a great hike despite the wet shoes and all.


For other scenic sunday views go visit
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