Silver Buttonwood trees – Horticultural Legacy at our Botanical gardensHawaii

 

Q: What are those gorgeous silvery street and park trees?  Some are at Sandys Beach, some Giant ones are on Pa`alea street in Palolo Valley, and some are at Ala Moana beach park.  Please inform us about these

Mahalo, M. Silva, Palolo

A: Silver buttonwood trees! AKA Sea Mulberry, or Button Mangrove.  Conocarpus erecta is the Latin name.  they grow naturally in mangrove swamps and are in the Combretaceae plant family, they have a very interesting horticultural history that I am happy to share.

As you may know they are very wind resistant, xeric (drought tolerant) and salt tolerant.  The bark and gnarly trunks are very attractive, especially as the trees mature.  You can make lovely lei with them.  Keiki can make a fun lei using masking tape and the leaves – easy and gorgeous!

 

HB- silver bttnwd tree -landscape

Silver Buttonwood amidst Carissa, Rosemary and Wax Ficus

 

At Lei Day in Kapiolani Park this year (and a HUGE mahalo to all the dedicated City of Honolulu, Parks and Recreation and Honolulu Botanical Garden Employees and Volunteers, who organized and coordinated that major public, free event in our park) we saw some fab lei, using various parts of silver button wood trees.  Some used the fruit clusters, some used the leaves, some crafted the leaves into silver “rose” buds and so on.

Our late mentor Paul Weissich had just become Director of the Honolulu Botanical Gardens (HBG) in 1957.  He was reviewing all of the interesting plants growing in the nursery and lath houses at Foster Botanical garden (FBG).

Weissich found a flat of seedlings.  Some were green and some were silvery.  One keiki was super silvery.

 

HB-silver buttonwood tree

Silver Buttonwood tree in a salt Drenched, Hot, Dry Diamond Head, coastal Garden; See How it “Lights UP” the landscape?

 

He selected the silveriest of the silvers and had them potted up into larger individual pots. The best, consistently silver one was selected and more were propagated from air layers. He watched over them and had the expert plant propagators nurture and grow them up. This is a prime example of ‘Horticultural selection’.

He planted a bunch of them at Ala Moana beach park, which was an adjunct Botanic garden back in those days (and still has his legacy of tough, salt tolerant interesting, rare and unusual trees growing).

A mixed silver and green hedge of them is still growing today around the tennis courts at McCoy pavilion.

One of the silveriest was planted at Foster Garden and its gnarly and sprawly and has a growth habit something like an ancient time gnarled Olive tree.  We have been talking about making this an Exceptional Tree.

Over the years more of the silvery trees were grown and planted in beach parks like Sandys and as shady tough street trees in Oahu neighborhoods. They make a tough specimen tree (especially nice when up lit with solar lights for your “Moon Light Garden”), a good hedge or windbreak.

Button woods are native to a broad area from the Bahamas, to the Caribbean coastal tropics and all the way to West tropical Africa.

This is one of the many Horticultural legacies of Paul Weissich who passed away this year at age 93.  He really grew our beautiful and amazing botanic gardens here on Oahu. His legacy is our five Honolulu Botanical Gardens: Foster Lili’uokalani, Wahiawa, Koko Crater and Ho`omaluhia, as well as people like me and my Husband Clark whose career and lives he nurtured, just like that flat of keiki silver buttonwood trees all those years ago!

 

HB-silver buttonwoord lei

Epic Silver themed Kupuna lei featuring Fruits of silver Buttonwood, Delicate Baby’s Breath, Hinahina and silver leaf.

 

Helpful Tips for Beautfiul Landscape

In my experience, people visiting Hawaii are truly interested in our unique plants and wonderful Hawaii gardens. Visitors vote and share with their cameras, with the questions they ask and the notes they take. Did you know that gardens and trees do not depreciate? They just keep on growing. The same cannot be said for buildings, sewers, sidewalks, pools and all the other accoutrements that make up Hawaii’s hotels.

At the Hale Koa Hotel, I researched and planted many new things in its 72 acres of gardens for the enjoyment and benefit of visitors, especially those who returned every year (or twice a year). Gardeners can be valuable customer service representatives and serve as front-line ambassadors. A nice gardener who can answer guests’ questions is more likely to bring new business and happier repeat customers.

Some people may or may not believe we have seasons in Hawaii, but professional Hawaii landscapers know we do.

For me, learning how to properly care for all the amazing plants here in Hawaii is a continual process, so I thought I would share with you some helpful landscape tips.

Tips and suggestions for a beautiful and professional Hawaii landscape

1. Create a highly visual and unique visitor experience by using native Hawaiian plants and well-adapted beautiful exotics in hotel gardens, interiorscapes and landscapes.
2. Plant plants where they belong (salty soil, dry or wet area, shady or sunny).
3. Plant in layers — low, medium, high.
4. Plant shrubs and ground-covers around trees like a “lei,” to protect the trunk and highlight the tree.
5. Group plants that require the same conditions.
6. Understand how big a plant will become and how quickly it will grow.
7. Create and retain shade trees and shady walkways.
8. Understand how hard or easy a plant is to prune.
9. Use ground-covers as much as possible. They save on water, weeding, mowing and edging.
10. Hire a professional from the start and do the job right the first time.

Caring for landscapes using good Hawaii based horticultural and Arboriculture science principles and akamai maintenance practices will save money and beautify Hawaii. That is a great thing for all of us and our visitors

Heidi Leianuenue Bornhorst is a landscaping consultant, gardener trainer and specialty VIP garden guide. She has been a professional horticulturist for more than 33 years. She is also a Certified Arborist. You can contact her via email at heidibornhorst@gmail.com or at 739-5594.

 

Helpful Tips for Beautiful Landscapes

In my experience, people visiting Hawaii are truly interested in our unique plants and wonderful Hawaii gardens. Visitors vote and share with their cameras, with the questions they ask and the notes they take. Did you know that gardens and trees do not depreciate? They just keep on growing. The same cannot be said for buildings, sewers, sidewalks, pools and all the other accoutrements that make up Hawaii’s hotels.

At the Hale Koa Hotel, I researched and planted many new things in its 72 acres of gardens for the enjoyment and benefit of visitors, especially those who returned every year (or twice a year). Gardeners can be valuable customer service representatives and serve as front-line ambassadors. A nice gardener who can answer guests’ questions is more likely to bring new business and happier repeat customers.

Some people may or may not believe we have seasons in Hawaii, but professional Hawaii landscapers know we do.

For me, learning how to properly care for all the amazing plants here in Hawaii is a continual process, so I thought I would share with you some helpful landscape tips.

Tips and suggestions for a beautiful and professional Hawaii landscape

1. Create a highly visual and unique visitor experience by using native Hawaiian plants and well-adapted beautiful exotics in hotel gardens, interiorscapes, and landscapes.
2. Plant plants where they belong (salty soil, dry or wet area, shady or sunny).
3. Plant in layers — low, medium, high.
4. Plant shrubs + ground-covers around trees like a “lei,” to protect the trunk and highlight the tree.
5. Group plants that require the same conditions.
6. Understand how big a plant will become and how quickly it will grow.
7. Create and retain shade trees and shady walkways.
8. Understand how hard or easy a plant is to prune.
9. Use ground-covers as much as possible. They save on water, weeding, mowing and edging.
10. Hire a professional from the start and do the job right the first time.

Caring for landscapes using good Hawaii based horticultural and Arboriculture science principles and akamai maintenance practices will save money and beautify Hawaii. That is a great thing for all of us and our visitors

Heidi Leianuenue Bornhorst is a landscaping consultant, gardener trainer, and specialty VIP garden guide. She has been a professional horticulturist for more than 33 years. She is also a Certified Arborist. You can contact her via email at heidibornhorst@gmail.com or at 739-5594.

Espalier your Mango!

With land so valuable in Hawaii, homes and gardens are getting smaller, yet we still want to grow fruit trees, but how can we?

Even with towering monster houses and high-rises blocking sunlight and air circulation, espalier is one solution which can help your garden to be more fruitful.

What does espalier mean and how is it done, you may wonder.

Espalier is a technique that is ancient yet artful.  We think it started with the Romans, and was enhanced by Europeans with Castle courtyards. The French enhanced and grew the technique to they could have fruit year round.

The word is French, with Italian origins. Spalla means something to rest the shoulder against in Italian.

Modern landscape design does look to the French and Italians.  Some of the first beautifully designed, landscaped gardens were in Italy, check them out on your next Continental journey. (Gardens are way more fun to visit than a museum, in my opinion, and you get better outdoor exercise too)

Espalier means”to train a fruit or flowering tree to grow flat against a wall, supported by a lattice, or a framework of stakes”.

Today we can use strong cables to train and attach mango or other fruiting tree branches to keep them low, to get maximum sun and air circulation, and for easy harvesting.  Or we can do something more artful and horticultural in our Hawaiian gardens.

The European reasons to do this apply here too:

  • Walls reflect sunlight
  • Walls retain heat overnight (trees use the heat and then cool the air)
  • Orient the leafy branches to absorb maximum light
  • Train the branches parallel to the equator to get max sunlight
  • Espalier extends the growing season

There are many designs of espalier, from a simple V-shape, to fans, crosses, Belgian fences and many more.  Some are curved or spiraled.

England is known for great gardens and akamai horticulture and they have one called a free-standing step over.  They do it with apple and pear trees and we can adopt this practice for our fruit trees here in Hawaii.

Mark Suiso of Makaha Mangoes is great proponent of mangoes and other fruit trees.  He encourages us to graft good mango varieties, prune them correctly and cherish every fruit. Recently he got us all re-excited about espalier.

Suiso and his ohana and friends have participated in Mangoes at the Moana for the last nine years.  We have learned and grown together and met many mango advocates.  It seems to me that we have more fruit these days and that more people are choosing to carefully prune and nurture their legacy mango trees.  People are planting new trees in their gardens.

It’s so important to support farmers, especially here in Hawaii.  To BUY a mango seems outrageous and not at all sustainable, please buy local!

After all, mangoes are the King (or Queen) of Fruit, just ask Queen Victoria (movie with Judi Dench, featuring her wanting to taste a mango from India)

P.s. I think we should try espalier with `Ulu or breadfruit too!  Horticulturists always love a garden challenge and what better one?

I espalier my mulberries, to keep them low for easy picking and out of my neighbor’s yard (they like the ‘golf course grass’ look) I also can net my fruit and protect them from the ravenous alien bulbuls and green escaped parrots that we have on Oahu.

In other places, such as Japan, Taiwan and Australia they do elaborate kinds of Horticulture including espalier to nurture and cherish every leaf, flower and fruit.  We could do this too!

I would love to hear from my readers, who are practicing espalier to nurture their own special fruit tree.  Please send pictures if you have them, we can all learn from and inspire each other.

Heidi Leianuenue Bornhorst is a landscaping consultant, gardener trainer and specialty VIP garden guide. She has been a professional horticulturist for more than 33 years and she is a Certified Arborist. You can contact her via email at heidibornhorst@gmail.com or at 739-5594.

`Ulu aka Breadfruit, Healthy Food Production for Hawaii

Dear Governor Ige, Famers, and back yard gardeners, do you want to increase local Healthy food production?  Eat more nutritious locally grown safe food?  Breadfruit is one of the best solutions for sustainable Food security, better health, and natural beauty.

Breadfruit aka`Ulu is a beautiful tree with great Cultural significance here in Hawaii, and across the Pacific.  Hawaiians and many other local cultures have a long tradition (including varied recipes and preservation techniques) with breadfruit.

`Ulu has many

healthy body benefits, it is rich in fiber, calcium, potassium, B vitamins, and pro-vitamin A carotenoids. It is a “resistant starch”, it does not spike your blood sugar like white rice or white potatoes. If more people ate breadfruit we would cut down on diabetes and other health issues related to refined starch and high sugar diet.

When people tell me they don’t like the taste, I figure they have not had it properly cooked, or it was picked at the wrong time – too green or too ripe.  Yes, the over ripe smashed on the ground ones from an over tall non-pruned tree, are not too ono!

As a Certified Arborist, I recommend keeping backyard trees at a medium height for safe and easy harvesting via careful pruning starting after the first harvest (about three to five years in the ground).

If you have a farm, and a tree climber or cherry picker you can let the tree grow larger, but keep in mind, well-managed trees are far more productive.

Ulu or Breadfruit Tree

Ulu is a beautiful and simple tree to grow, harvest and care for. It’s easier to grow, harvest and cook than kalo (taro). There is no need to dig up and replant like root and tuber crops. `Ulu are highly regarded as pest and disease resistant, especially when grown in mixed plantings with other crops and useful plants.

For a number of years I have worked with and learned from Dr. Diane Ragone of the Breadfruit Institute (BFI) of the National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG).  We have given away over 12,000 keiki trees here in Hawaii and sponsored numerous breadfruit cooking contests. Our local participating chefs and gourmets are so talented and creative.

hb-ulu-hei-palolo

Chef Sam Choy is one of our amazing and totally giving back to the community Chefs.  For such a famous chef he is so humble, hard-working and just plain fun to partner with. We did the Wai’anae Eat Local Food Challenge, cook off and Breadfruit tree give away with him, Ragone, the Ho’oulu ka ‘Ulu project, and other community partners.

I have participated in numerous Arbor Day breadfruit tree giveaways over the years, these can be  like a feeding frenzy, everybody wants a free tree. Unfortunately not everyone who took a tree actually planted it.

Because our precious `ulu trees are propagated by tissue culture, we decided to make the process of getting one similar to adoption, hoping to attract people committed to and able to grow the trees. We asked people to promise to plant them in the ground within a few months, this gives the family time to make a decision about where in plant and to properly prepare the planting puka (clear away grass and weeds and use compost or stone mulching to make a clear area for the baby tree to thrive).

We utilize social media by sharing pictures and posts to reflect how well the keiki ulu trees are growing and producing healthy ono food.

Mahalo for all those who adopted a tree, keep sharing your feedback and great posts!

Helpful Growing Tips

How to plant:

  • Find a sunny spot away from wires
  • Clear away grass and weeds
  • Use hot mulch to help kill off the grass and weeds
  • Plant the keiki tree
  • Make a ring of mulch
  •  Water daily to establish
  • Replenish the mulch every few month

How to cook:

  • Harvest at mature firm green stage
  • Gently scrub and clean the skin (no need to peel)
  • Oil a big sharp knife
  • Slice ‘ulu into quarters
  • Steam for 20 minutes (or until fork tender)
  • Cool and freeze for future use

Or you can cook to your own liking, I make a simple curry with sautéed onions, garlic and Olena (turmeric).

Please check out the Breadfruit institute page on-line to learn even more about planting, harvesting cooking and the various varieties of ulu that we can grow here in Hawaii.

If you received a tree, please participate in our survey to let us know how your tree is doing.

You can also visit NTBG, they have gardens on Kauai, and Kahanu Garden in Hana that have amazing breadfruit collections for visiting and for inspiration. You can also join and support the NTBG in its important work on our “living library” of valuable trees and plants.

Learn more about when fruit is ready to harvest and how to handle in the Breadfruit Production Guide by Elevitch, Ragone, and Cole. 2014.  Available free   Download: http://ntbg.org/breadfruit/resources/cms_uploads/Breadfruit_Production_Guide_web_edition_2014.pdf or http://hawaiihomegrown.net/breadfruit-publications

Heidi Leianuenue Bornhorst is a landscaping consultant, gardener trainer and specialty VIP garden guide. She has been a professional horticulturist for more than 33 years. She is also a Certified Arborist. You can contact her via email at heidibornhorst@gmail.com or at 739-5594.

Hawaii Succulents

Succulents are perfect for your Hawaii garden.

Succulent plants can be fun and easy to grow and care for.  They can even help protect your home and garden from wildfire.  They are less thirsty plants, perfect to conserve on water in our gardens and grow a Hawaii style xeriscape.  Some are perfectly adapted for our humid Hawaiian climate.

Others are not so good in Hawaii.  They may prefer a Mediterranean climate like that of California.  These may grow OK at first here in Hawaii, and then they “melt”.  They just wither and fade away and …. It’s NOT your fault!  Ice plant is an example of one of these plants. Native to South Africa, it will grow a year or two in Hawaii, seem to be doing well and then fades away.  We had a nice planting of it at the Halawa Xeriscape Garden on a slope, but its pau now.

Aloe and Jade plants are some of our best gel filled plants for Hawaii gardens.  Not only are they tough and easy, but they also will reward you with a flower now and then.  (Many of our Aloe species bloom in our Hawaiian winter, sending up a pretty lily-like orange or red flower spike).

We also have many epic native Hawaiian succulent plants.  Hinahina the Lei Flower of Kaho’olawe is one of the most beautiful.  It’s tough in the wild, in harsh HOT, ehukai air filled areas.

Our native Hawaiian `ihi or Portulaca species are succulent and tough, with very pretty flowers. Portulaca molokiniensis is one of the most striking, with clusters of golden yellow flowers and a squat succulent growth habit.

`Ala`ala wai nui our Hawaiian Peperomias are also a cute succulent plant with many native species from various dryland and wetland habitats.  In wet places, they can grow happily on big pohaku or boulders, or epiphytically up in trees. These native habitats have perfect drainage.  Something we need to try and horticulturally replicate when we grow them in our gardens.

If you live in a wildfire prone area, you might consider a low scape including succulents. You can find many that are native to and grow well in Hawaii.

In a classic succulent vs fire story from California, a huge wildfire was sweeping through a San Diego, California neighborhood, many homes and gardens were destroyed.  Yet one (artist) lady had grown a low maintenance garden full of succulents including Aloe. It was a giant Aloe plant that is credited with helping save her house.  Though it burnt and appeared dead, its heart was full of moisture and the water stored in its tissues slowed the fire long enough to save the home.  The aloe also survived and with time revived after the fire.

Coastal and dry forest plants have adaptations to survive and thrive in hot dry salty windy areas.  Portulacca molokinienis or Molokini `ihi is one of the cutest, with a fat stalk, rosettes of succulent leaves and clusters of golden yellow flowers.

We have other native Portulaccas, which we call `ihi.  They can have white, pink or yellow flowers.  Most are easy to grow from cuttings.  They can also be grown from seeds.

Hinahina, the lei flower of Kahoolawe has the most gorgeous silvery rosettes of leaves and curled flower spikes of tiny white fragrant flowers.  Super gorgeous in the garden and very xeric once established.

The rare Alula, Brighamia citrina, native to the pali, steep cliff areas and today found only along Kalalau on Kauai, is being saved by gardeners who love its fat stalk, clusters of leaves and long tubular fragrant blossoms.

All of these native Hawaiian succulents need slug and snail protection.  Surround them with coarse black or red cinder, egg shells or a ring of used coffee grounds.  Copper strips and food grade diatomaceous earth also help to repel slugs and snails.

Gardener vigilance is good too.  Check on them at night or after heavy rains and manually remove slugs using a plastic bag to grab and then dispose of them.  Or do like my kolohe neighbor does, poke ‘em jubilantly with his old fishing spear and then dunk them in a bucket of soapy water, then bag them into the trash bin.

Heidi Leianuenue Bornhorst is a landscaping consultant, gardener trainer and specialty VIP garden guide. She has been a professional horticulturalist for more than 33 years and is a Certified Arborist. You can contact her via email at heidibornhorst@gmail.com or at 739-5594.

 

Succulents for your Hawaii garden

Succulent plants can be fun and easy to grow and care for.  They may even help protect your home and garden from wildfire.  They are considered “less thirsty” plants, helping to conserve water in our gardens and known to flourish in a Hawaii style xeriscape.

Some succulents are perfectly adapted for our humid Hawaiian climate, and some do not do well in Hawaii.  The ones that don’t may prefer a Mediterranean climate like that of California.  These plants typically seem to grow okay in Hawaii, and then suddenly they melt, wither and fade away and …. It’s NOT your fault!  Ice plant is a good example of these types of plants. Native to South Africa, it’s somewhat of an alien pest in California, yet looks great along their freeway embankments and coastal roadways.  In Hawaii these plants will grow a year or two, seem to be doing well, then fade away.  We had a nice planting of it at the Halawa Xeriscape Garden on a slope, but its pau now.

Aloe and Jade plants are considered some of our best gel filled plants for Hawaii gardens.  Not only are they sturdy and easy to grow,  they also will reward you with a flower now and then.  (Many of our Aloe species bloom in our Hawaiian winter, sending up a pretty lily like orange or red flower spike).

So which epic native Hawaiian succulent plants grow best in Hawaii?

Hinahina the Lei Flower of Kaho`olawe is one of the most beautiful.  It’s durable in the wild, in harsh HOT, ehukai air-filled areas.

Our native Hawaiian `ihi or Portulaca species are succulent and tough, with very pretty flowers. Portulaca molokiniensis is one of the most striking, with clusters of golden-yellow flowers and a squat succulent growth habit.

`Ala`ala wai nui our Hawaiian Peperomias are a cute succulent plant with many native species from various dry land and wetland habitats.  In wet places, they can grow happily on big pohaku or boulders, or epiphytically up in trees. These native habitats have perfect drainage.  Something we need to try to horticulturally replicate when we grow them in our gardens.

A classic fire story comes to us from California.  A big fire was sweeping through a San Diego neighborhood. Everyone evacuated.  Many homes and gardens were torched.  There also was an artist lady, with no time for fussy gardening or watering, who had planted a low garden full of succulents including massive aloe plants. The one giant aloe near her art studio was basically creditied with saving her house. Though the plant burnt, it was full of gel.  Its heart of moisture and water stored in its tissues slowed down the fire enough to save the home.  The aloe plant also managed to survive and with time revived after the fire.

If you live in a wildfire prone area, you might consider a low scape including succulents.  We have many that are native to Hawaii.

Coastal and dry forest plants have adaptations to survive and thrive in hot dry salty windy areas.  Portulacca molokinienis or Molokini `ihi is one of the cutest, with a fat stalk, rosettes of succulent leaves and clusters of golden-yellow flowers.

We have other native Portulaccas, which we call `ihi.  They can have white, pink or yellow flowers.  Most are easy to grow from cuttings, or can be grown from seeds.

Hinahina, the lei flower of Kahoolawe has the most gorgeous silvery rosettes of leaves and curled flower spikes of tiny white fragrant flowers.  Stunning in the garden and very xeric once established.

The rare Alula, Brighamia citrina, native to the pali, steep cliff areas and today found only along Kalalau on Kauai, is being saved by gardeners who love its fat stalk, clusters of leaves and long tubular fragrant blossoms.

All of these native Hawaiian succulents need slug and snail protection.  Surround them with coarse black or red cinder, egg shells or a ring of used coffee grounds.  Copper strips and food grade diatomaceous earth also help to repel slugs and snails.

Gardener vigilance is important too.  Check on them at night or after heavy rains and manually remove slugs using a plastic bag to grab and then dispose of them.  Or do like my kolohe neighbor does, poke ‘em jubilantly with his old fishing spear and then dunk them in a bucket of soapy water, then bag them into the trash bin.

 

 

Bougainvillea and Native Hawaiian Gardenias – winter time favorites

By Heidi Bornhorst

I am sure appreciating the gift of Bougainvillea!  Had to make a lot of lei this holiday seasons – Birthdays, an almost 50th wedding anniversary (Masami and Pearl) and hostess gifts for the Hostess with the mostest.

I made flower arrangements for some, but the gift of a hand sewn lei is true aloha.  Yes a florist would have been faster and easier (except for the driving and parking!) but where’s the fun in that? I also know that mine are grown in Hawaii and are chemical free.

With the weird weather and things blooming out of time I did find a few Plumeria, and Pua keni keni.  My na`u or native Gardenia has been blooming like crazy, stimulated by the bountiful rains and the super moons…. I think….  The buds of na`u make for an amazing lei.  I pick them as buds, put them in tiny vases or in the fridge immersed in water, if I really want to slow down the blooming and unfurling phase.

HB-Boug

But I didn’t have quite enough, so I looked around my garden and my neighborhood and went AH hah!  Bougainvillea!  This plant is a winter bloomer, the short days of winter stimulate it to bloom (just like Poinsettias) Bougainvillea are native to Brazil and Poinsettias to Mexico…

The bright Bougie “flowers” that catch our eyes are actually colorful bracts, or modified leaves. The true flowers are white and peek out from the bracts.  Collect the flowers in a bag, clean and pluck them and start stringing.  I like to watch recorded surf meets on TV when I string a lei.

It takes me back to small kid time where we would make lots of lei, mostly from Plumeria and bougainvillea, abundant in our neighborhood and easy to string.  The other great thing about Bougies is that they dry well and retain some of their color.

For years we had the purple Bougies, quite thorny and apt to go wild.  Our family had a rule: NO Bougies planted in the ground, after my dad battled a wild thorny purple one for over 10 years, getting poked and mad, and killed our prized rainbow plumeria in the process.  (Always read the labels when using chemicals, or hire a professional)

As a landscape designer I always caution my clients to think long and hard before planting one in the ground.  They are way more manageable in a pot.  I also dislike pruning big wild ones due to the thorns.

If you have a wild hillside and need color – Grow for it, plant them in the ground.  They are great on the freeway embankments and so pretty.  They are also a xeric or less thirsty platn.  I love seeing them in Kona and in Kalaupapa.

We got many new varieties thanks to the vision of Paul Weissich of the Honolulu botanic gardens and the plant connections of the late Donald Angus, in the 1960s and early ‘70s.  Together they collected and legally imported new and wonderful varieties like ‘Miss Manila’ (peach and colored a hybrid from the P.I.) and the double flowered ‘Carmencita’.  Plant sales were wild events in those days, with people lining up to get these new exciting varieties.  Today they are part of the landscape and many don’t know how much effort it took to bring them here.

The na`u or native gardenia, G. brighamii, was brought back from the brink of extinction, by Conservationists and horticulturists.  Today many are grown in gardens and their unique perfume makes for a very nice lei, hair adornment or gorgeous native Hawaiian addition to your garden.  It’s also very important to protect and nurture them in the wild, by controlling weeds, feral animals and wildfire.