Monday, August 30, 2010

The Hot, the Loud and the Proud #6


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.

For this month’s theme,  I’m taking you to on a tour of a local ti (Cordyline terminalis) nursery, just down the block from my neighborhood in East Hawaii. Its amazing that in Hawaii, we can have many growers specialize in commercially growing just one species, and create their own niche market. With growing conditions so ideal for these growers, they can offer so many different varieties and hybrids. Also, they create these brilliant color combinations, all for the benefit of eager plant fanatics to add to their collections.  Come and take a look at some of these beauties ….


This grower started his nursery as a hobby to eventually turn this into a full time business when he retires. Meanwhile, he has a stunning show garden and nursery up and running for business. I discovered this nursery after seeing his wonderful ti plants at the local Macuu farmers market in East Hawaii and after seeing all the vivid and colorful varieties, I was inspired to see I could visit and photograph his nursery.


What I didn't expect to find was this exotic and other-worldy show garden in addition to this simple nursery. He grew some of the most exuberant, bold, and variegated accent plants. Every time I turned to a new angle I was confronted with exciting compositions.

What’s interesting about this show garden is the actual lava left intact and used as walkways or decorative statements to the landscaping, it really shows how utilizing what is part of the locality can add some interesting context and texture to a landscape.


Intense colorations and intense shades of red from just this one plant... isn't it striking?

All the curved surfaces and raindrops remind me of the sensual curves of another abstract painter with a very colorful pallet.  This is a very inspiring place, don't you agree?

I love capturing light illuminating these leaves and showing translucent foliage that just sparkle and add so much dimension to this garden.

This miniature ti only gets to a height of three feet and the variegated leaf stripes add so much visual texture to make this beauty stand out and make you pay attention.


Here’s one last view showing another, oh-so-amazing view in this garden vignette.


I hope you enjoyed this ti farm tour, its a very special place on this side of the island. 
To visit other Hot, Loud and Proud posts today go and check out the links below.

For more views of other worlds on Tuesday come visit

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Blossoms Everywhere






Here in Hilo town, entire boulevards are line with these gorgeous rainbow shower trees or Cassia fistula x javanica and they are all putting out quite a show. The shower trees are adorned with colorful displays of these long clusters of pale yellow then crescendo to hot pink and orange hues.







They are all in bloom now and showcasing the beauty of Hilo’s bay front area with a profusion of cascading flowers. What an ideal way to highlight the beauty of these tropical trees than to line the streets with these prolific hybrids.









Another variety that is used in many of the greenbelt areas and parks are the golden yellow shower trees called Senna Fistula X Cassia fistula. This cassia is also a summer bloomer with long strands of pale to deeper yellow florets. The trees grow effortlessly here, are drought tolerant and adapt to many soil environments including sandy and ocean sprayed areas which is perfect to the open bay front of Hilo.








Cassia is a huge genus with over 500 species and are some of the most colorful trees and shrubs in East Hawaii. I think they picked the perfect species to highlight the beauty of this area and town, don’t you think?



To see other flowers for today go and visit

To see other fertilizer posts for this week, come and visit

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Capturing orchids at their Optimum



This is a continuation segment of the previous orchid post from our recent Hilo orchid show in Hawaii.  I’m presenting some of my favorite orchids, the truly exotic and frilly varieties and also my best orchid photographs capturing these amazing beauties.

I do have to apologize, for some reason the names I marked down to document all these orchids are not corresponding with the numbered series from my camera (not really sure how this happened) so, what I think I will do instead is discuss some of the unique ways I see, capture and present these orchids at their utmost beauty.


A close up macro of this red Vanda – an unusual color for this species.



One of my favorite ways of photographing orchids is to backlight them, meaning having the sun behind the flowers which then highlights the lighter areas of the flower, making them glow and more translucent. A very effective way of presenting many of the delicate types here including these gorgeous Paphiopedilums. Now you do have to have enough light in the front to capture the details so I would use a higher ISO setting if you have a DSLR camera. If you have a simple point and shoot, then the automatic mode will set the exposure and decide if a flash is necessary.




Another common technique I use regularly is to fill up the frame with your subject and distance them from your background. That way can see more intimate details of these flowers including the petals, stamens and lips. If you can manually crop to the main focus, you will really capture the essence of each particular flower and make your photography stand out like this chartreuse cattleya.





I always strive to capture natural light especially when its very difficult to use flash or have a tripod available in these larger venues unless you are able to access these events separately without the crowds. Again, its better to use a higher ISO setting to allow for dim lighting.





Shooting at aperture mode (AV) allows me to change depth of field and eliminate unwanted background noise which makes the flowers shine. I tend to focus on shallower depth of field to get me closer to the subject and blur the background. I’m not sure if a point and shoot allows for this feature, maybe a macro mode setting might eliminate the background noise. Or in some cameras, there is a flower close up mode that would also work well.





Always try to isolate your subject matter, move around the subject to find the optimum spot where it really looks special (some times the back shot can be more interesting that the front shot ).  I sometimes create a small pinhole opening with one finger to view from so it tries to capture a macro shot without using the camera and giving you a quick impression.






Go on in and get those macro shots, in both DSLR’s and point and shoot cameras, there are macro modes that will allow you to get in closer and capture those really close up details and make them look crisp. Go for a focus detail or try an abstract macro.




On that note, I always try to minimize the background especially for detailed shots, I will look for solid and non-busy backgrounds, black for me is ideal.  If you can isolate the orchid or even move it to a more ideal background, then do so. (at least if someone will allow you to do this)




Look for something unique or really outstanding flowers that you haven’t seen before and spend more time looking at them and seeing what the best angles are to capture them in photo. Beautiful blue/purple tones always draw me into these striking Brassavolas.




Have fun and talk to these growers/exhibitors and try to learn more about a certain species that you are attracted to and document this information. Do try to make sure your photo matches the number shot of your camera.  Last, try to let your camera tell a story about this special orchid, it should do just that if you spend time and enjoy these voluptuous beauties.






Spend the time to see the subject at different levels, from the top, or the bottom or the side Look at the lighting coming from different angles to your subject. You will come up with many more interesting compositions and present a more dynamic photograph.




Go for the environment photo, so it also tells you the story of the show. This will tend to be a larger shot with a smaller aperture or in point and shoot normal view with little zoom. You want to capture and tell the story of this wonderful event. Just make sure to fill in the frame and take out all the un-necessary background.




I hope that these tips help in you in capturing better flower photographs, these are my tried and true concepts that I have learned from others and works best for me.  Go out in your garden today and take a few with these thoughts in mind.


To visit other gardens today go visit

To see other posts for fertilizer friday  go and visit

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Orchid Mania


Hawaii Island, also known as the Orchid Isle is filled with a plethora of orchid growers, nurseries and enthusiasts growing various species of orchids around the island.  When the Hilo Orchid club puts on their annual show in summer, you know that this is going to be an exciting time to see some of the most unique, one of a kind specimens and show stoppers.

Many of the growers and hobbyist here use this event to launch their new hybrids that they would like introduced to the market or just showing exclusively for competition. It is quite mind blogging to see so many new species being introduced all at the same time for public viewing.

Let me show you some of the  really unique stars that really stood out for me at this show.
First is this amazing chartreuse beauty called Blc Ports of Paradise – Emerald Isle.  I’m a fan of chartreuse colored flowers and this hybrid just oozes sexy and it has a nice gentle fragrance to draw you in to smell and see the details.


Here’s one of my favorite blue orchids called Lc CG Roebling ‘Sentinel’, such a charmer don’t you think? A very subtle orchid bloom and yet this flower makes quite an impact to its viewers from close up and at a distance.



This alien looking orchid that seems to just glow this surreal orange/yellow is called Gertrude Hauserman, its an amazing Cypripedium that won the blue medal in its species.


I was mesmerized by these miniature orchid flowers, called Masdevallia erinacea, the flowers were only the size of my pinky nail and was blooming profusely even though the entire plant was only the size of my DSLR Canon.


Well this beauty is truly unique, its called Paphiopedilum tigrinum, one of the more exotic of the lady slippers that originates from the Burmese/Chinese and Thai border areas. It was very hard to capture this with all the other phaps around it. I was almost tempted to lift it from the display just to take an individual shot and make it stand out more, oh well next time.


I’m very drawn to monochromatic colored orchids, they tend to be more unusual for me to observe all the detailed features of its flowers. This attractive beauty is called Paphiopedilum Armeniacum and its yellow hued petals draw me in to take a picture and notice all its details more intimately.


This orchid, I would say is one of the most bizarre and yet colorful beauties at the show. Its called LC Mini purple, Blue Hawaii, its soft purple hued stalk adds so much to its other worldy display along with the bizarre and twisted petals accenting the delicate lip.


This dendrobium is quite stunning. Its flowers and leaves are a purple/black color and the details of its labellum are so dainty and frilly, its a nice complement to the steely edge of the petals. Called appropriately Dendrobium Negro, it really left me speechless and wanting a few of these to take home with me.


Aren’t the leaves stunning and glossy, come on, I know you just love it too!


Aaaaaah, here are some more beauties of the live hula variety, called the Tutus in their Mumu’s (no not really), these are some of our local tutu’s putting on a lively show with music accompany to add to our visual delights and giving us a rest period from all the intensity of this colorful show.


Well this almost sensory overload seeing all these orchid flowers in one seating, lets take a break for now and I’ll continue this again in a future post.  I would love to show you some of the fancy frilly species, some of the most gorgeous flowers I was attracted to, and also some of my favorite photographs that captured these amazing plants.

This post is my contribution for the monthly bloom day celebration, come and visit other blogs participating today at
Also please visit other scenic scenes of the world today at

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Big Event



One of our largest nursery/plant sales in Hawaii Island happens twice yearly in the spring and early fall season. Called the BIAN plant sale or the Big Island Association of Nurserymen, it is truly a big shopping spree of the largest growers specializing in everything from palms, bamboos to tropical fruits,  exotic specimens, foliage plants, colorful flowers, to just about everything that can grow successfully on Hawaii island, which encompasses 13 of the world’s 15 growing zones.  It is held in one of our largest stadiums in Hilo, and every inch of the area is covered with seductive and exciting new plants being introduced for the season.





There’s always an army of friendly and expert growers in yellow to answer any and all questions about a specific plant or growing condition.






Before the weekend show starts at 5pm on a Friday, there is a line snaking out the stadium where its held and it takes a whole stadium to fill out with all these amazing varieties of plants. When the doors open, all the aisles are cleared and open – you just know its going to be a stampede… No, really its not that crazy, people are quite courteous and generous in their knowledge of plants, experiences and ideal growing conditions, making this a very pleasant experience, meeting new growers and discovering new plants to introduce into your gardens.







I’m sure you know the feeling about looking for hidden treasures and these hunters are all very serious in their search for treasure. Its a real treat to see this and take pictures at the same time. There’s always a lot of smiles and joy in finding something really unique and the gardeners here really expect something unusual or different from these nurserymen.




If your into colorful flowers and plants, you have come into the right place.





Or, how about choosing some of these exuberant orchid plants?







It looks like this hunter has found his treasure and is holding it tight all the way to check out…it is a gorgeous cattleya, why didn’t I see that first?



If your ever in Hilo for the annual BIAN sale, you should check this out, it is alot of fun and you just might be tempted to take home a few plants or in most cases a trunk load!


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