Garden Tours: AlohaHoya, Carol Noel

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Posted by @Sharon on
Welcome to Garden Tours. Each week we'll take you on a tour of the lovely gardens of one of our members. Join us now as we travel to Hawaii where Carol will take us through the gardens she and her husband have created. You are going to love what you see! Be sure you click on the images to enlarge them.

Hawaii is usually thought of with images of little umbrellas in fruity drinks and beaches with great surf. My Hawaii is about getting plants to grow and then controlling them IF they are happy!

We live on the East (rainy) side of the Big Island of Hawaii, the southern most island with live volcanos, the largest cattle ranch in the US, and the birth place of the Cowboy Arts. The State of Hawaii is the MOST isolated of any islands in the world. Our island has all of the climate zones except 2: perpetual snow/ice and zero rainfall. Our annual rainfall bounces from around 120" to 160" (about 3 - 5 times more rain than Seattle!) and MOST of it comes during the night. We live at about 800' altitude and our average temperature is 79 degrees.

There ARE areas on the island with deep soil, but not where we live! Our area is on a 300 year old lava flow with an average of 3" of topsoil. Nevertheless, we manage to grow lots of trees and there is the native tree, the Ohia (the tall skinny 'pole like' tree you see in my pictures that grows to be huge with very shallow roots. Some of the bigger trees send out roots 'overland'.

Here is a link to a site Bob (DH) put together years ago, Big Island Growers, and in "Views" you can see some shots of the land/roads just as we were starting to plant. Bob has planted an excellent collection of palms (see the list) and of timber bamboos. A few of his images of flowers are mislabeled; he knows palms, and chemical engineering.

We moved here 11 years ago (we were both 61 years old) and the property was extremely overgrown (does not take long around here) with trash trees, weed bushes (Melastomes) and rampant vines. 

Granddaughter Isabella with dog Thelma and her friend Sara under the Banyan tree in front of our house.




We call this cactus corner above, Agaves, Euphorbias, Bromiliads; they all grow beautifully here.

Sometimes the light through the colors is irresistable!!! Cordyline fructicosa 'Pahoa Seedling'


Flower petals from the Mountain Apple tree are magnificent when they fall!


Amaryllis naturalize here after a while and the
Ficus benjamina (variegated) is planted so the sunlight screams through it in the morning.

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This is looking down the road to our driveway with the morning vog (volcanic emissions mixed with moisture. We get it rarely up here but it isn't fun to breathe).


Mauna Kea with Mauna Loa in the background, taken from a plane in the winter.


Agave americana mulched with Ti leaves. Mulch is really critical to keep the weeds down.  On the right is a newly made bed for planting near the house.

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This brugmansia blooms heavily all of the time; I can't throw the pruned branches in the woods because they root and grow! INVASION!


This magnificent Ficus benjamina (Banyan Tree) is about 24 years old (only Whistling ). Around it are planted Guzmania, Vriesia, Anthurium and what is called Peacock Fern here.

This is a brumansia seedling I grew out of a great grower of brugs (Eclipse) and I kept 3 seedlings. This is one of them.  It only blooms when it gets to about 15' tall. Here is Bob (6'2") right in front. The blooms are gigantic too!


I love Ti, just love it. It doesn't ask for anything special in the way of care and the colorful leaves can be stunning, even useful in arrangements!


Below, the left side of driveway onto the property. I shudder at the thought of keeping a manicured garden! I know a woman who pulls any "not-what-I-planted" grass from her lawn and at the same time tries to grow this lawn on the ocean front; she also needs less sleep than I do Big Grin . I try to get rid of the really really weedy stuff, tolerate some of them and cultivate others that don't look at all bad. 'Barely in Control Chaos' is what I like to think of it as, and if I had to do it all over again, I would concentrate on planting Anthuriums and Vireya (the tropical Rhododendron. It grows in very shallow soil with almost epiphytic qualities and their colors and (some) fragrances are fabulous:  a 4 wheel drive plant!!!)


 Just beyond the above planting you'll see Begonia felicifolia in the foreground. Others there are Bromiliads, Medinillas, Begonias, Ti, Anthuriums, and anything I think might grow.  It's just rock with little pockets of soil.

Sygnonium fighting for the right to devour the lawn (we mow anything green, that's lawn).  C. pseudoparasitica hanging in the basket from a branch of an arrogant schefflera.


We call this 3 corners.  There are 3 roads coming into it; think it's time to start thinning that out? 


Looking up the road where those agave were mulched with the Ti;  at the top is a Lako Bamboo, black wood.


More color with different coleus. So many people ignore this plant and it can be simply stunning with almost never a complaint. "You feed me I grow".


The same Bamboo Lako as in the above photo. In front of the bamboo are orange/yellow/red/pink daylillies, impatiens, amaryllis, crinums.


Another view of the Lako Bamboo from the other direction; to the left is a stand of Black Asper Bamboo, culms are now around 10" in diameter!


Aroids about 3 years old; one of the palms died (shortlived caryota) and fell on the fence supporting a beautiful Tecomanthe venusta, so we stuck these in.  They love their new homes! In back is one of the citrus orchards; fresh OJ every morning these days!


This is a Rainbow Eucalyptus, or Mindinao Gum. Most exquisite bark! And contrary to many eucalyptus the area beneath is not toxic and anthuriums, ti and gardenias grow there.


Just beyond the Rainbow Eucalyptus, path goes up beside the house. On the right is a big avocado tree and on a left a hodgepodge of palms, philos, ti and vines. The trees suck all the nutrients, so they struggle.


View from the Lanai where I have my computer. Lots of anthuriums, orchids and hoyas in the trees, vireyas and some costus here.


Off the corner of the house in the back; I pull the bamboo culms down to hang my large hoyas from. Works well.


One of the bigger Bismarkia palms (only 6 years old from a 5 gallon pot).


Variegated Pandanus


I have learned SO much about gardening in the tropics since we came here 10 years ago. I've experimented with just about everything, and lots of experiments have been successful, like amaryllis and agapanthus. Daylillies were a bust due to the whiteflies and general attrition (with 12 acres I simply can't hold everyone's hand to get them thru a tough time; if they live, great and if they don't, 'oh well'). Some of the daylilies have stayed on and prospered. Coleus and impatiens are wonderful space fillers to keep down weeds and I can just throw them on the ground and they thrive!  We look at fertilizing after each 10" of rain; foliar works beautifully on most.

I wonder what this place will look like 30 years from now?



Carol, my friend, your gardens are simply stunning!  Actually I couldn't decide whether to say stunning or breathtaking. Both apply equally. Thank you so much for sharing the gardens you and Bob have created with us. We wish you both well in your garden paradise.


And thank you so much for joining us. We'll be right here again next week to take you on a tour of another member's gardens.


Garden Tours is a joint effort by Trish and Sharon.

Comments and Discussion
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Your post came up in the random ideas area by CDsSister Sep 25, 2013 2:30 AM 1
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful by SongofJoy Nov 7, 2011 12:23 PM 12
Compete! by dahtzu Nov 6, 2011 1:49 PM 1
Thank you all!!! by AlohaHoya Nov 6, 2011 11:37 AM 6
I have my house up for sale... by Aguane Nov 6, 2011 5:33 AM 10
Simply Stunning! by flaflwrgrl Nov 5, 2011 11:01 PM 19

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