Posts Tagged ‘hawaii’

Tropical Treasures: Work Hard, Play Hard

February 2, 2012

Our final Tropical Treasures photo submission comes from Cathy D. Last October Cathy went to Kailua-Kona, Hawaii to watch her son compete in the Ironman World Championship. Afterward the entire family stayed around another week to enjoy all Hawaii has to offer. Below are some of the pictures from the unforgettable family trip.

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Tropical Treasures: More Fan Photos!

January 11, 2012

Flower Show fan Brian G. went to Hawaii and brought back  these truly breathtaking photos. They make me wish I was there right now!

Do you have photos of Hawaii to share? Help get everyone excited for Islands of Aloha by sending images and memories to

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Sam’s Hawaiian Odyssey: Old Lahaina Lu’au

November 2, 2011

Thanks for following my adventures up, down, and all over Oahu. Up next: Maui!

One of the most memorable places I went to in Maui was the Old Lahaina Lu’au. As you likely know, a lu’au (or luau) is a Hawaiian feast with entertainment; but nothing I’ve read or watched on TV prepared me for the fun, energy, and cultural significance of the lu’au.

At Old Lahaina we were told of traditions that Hawaiians have passed on for generations. The story I remember best was that of the volcano goddess Pele (not to be confused with the soccer player). Every incident with a volcanic eruption in Hawaii is said to be Pele’s way of expressing her longing to be with her true love, a young chief named Lohiau.

Once we learned the story we were treated to a specific hula dedicated to the goddess. Some attendees—including me— were brought on stage to learn the dance. I imagine I’m in the background of many people’s photo albums now!

As you may have guessed, the best part about the lu’au was the food. The main dish was the pig, which was wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in an underground oven. They also served various taro-based dishes. The broad-leafed plant looks like this (see right). The part you eat, the corm, could be described as a hybrid of a coconut and a potato—in looks, not taste.

The lu’au ended with watching a beautiful sunset over the ocean. Does life get better than that?

Sam’s Hawaiian Odyssey: Sacred Space

October 5, 2011

For the past few weeks Flower Show designer Sam Lemheney has shared stories from his recent trip to the Hawaiian islands. Click here for past installments. Below he describes his final stop in Oahu, the Waimea Valley.

Waimea, meaning “The Valley of the Priests,” is a highlight of my time in Oahu. It is one of the last partially intact ahupua’a (native Hawaiian land-use systems) on the island. The valley encompasses 1,875 acres and has been regarded as a sacred place by native Hawaiians for more than 700 years.

David Orr showed me the extensive and exceptional botanical collection at Waimea Valley, which includes more than 5,000 documented types of tropical and subtropical plants. I didn’t count them all, but based on my visit I have no trouble believing that number. I can’t emphasize how rare—and endangered—some of these plants are. I had never seen most of them in person before!

My stroll through the dozens of distinct gardens at Waimea revealed a rich collection of native heirloom varieties of kalo, sweet potato, and banana. It also boasts one of the state’s most extensive collections of loulu palms (including Calamagrostis hillebrandii and Pritchardia remota).

One garden is devoted to the state flower, the Hawaiian hibiscus, and all three of its endangered subspecies. Look for the hibiscus to appear on much of the special Flower Show merchandise we cook up—and you’ll see it here on the blog first!

Sam’s Hawaiian Odyssey: Where History & Nature Meet

September 28, 2011

Since its establishment in 1963, the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) has risen to become Hawaii’s top attractions. I’m told that more than 33 million visitors have been introduced to PCC’s mission to preserve and carry on the ideals of the Polynesian people’s arts and customs. Diversity is key at PCC, where many South Pacific nations are recreated in small villages, exhibits, and authentic activities ranging from typical island crafts to critical food preparation skills and battle techniques.

Tahiti is terrific and Fiji is fantastic, but I was there to soak up all that I could about Hawaii. It is important to me that the Flower Show captures the culture and history of these amazing islands. As such, the Show is going to have a Hawaiian Village where visitors can purchase authentic, hand-made Hawaiian wares. In many cases you’ll also be able to see these artists and artisans at work.

Before I get sidetracked, I do have to take a moment to gush about the tremendous plant life on display at the PCC. I most vividly remember a large lagoon complete with waterfalls and well-maintained, lush tropical flowers. In short, the PCC enables visitors to participate in centuries of Polynesian culture and celebrate the beauty and excitement of Hawaii’s natural surroundings. If and when you visit Hawaii, pay a visit to the amazing place!

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