Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Maui day 8: Keawakapu Beach—Kula Botanical Garden

We’ve been here a week now and finally made it to the beach closest to our condo complex, Keawakapu Beach. It’s located in a residential area and the only properties fronting the beach are private homes. It’s probably the nicest swimming beach we’ve been to (Big Beach is still my favorite but the surf is a bit too rough there for us casual swimmers).

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I’m still having a hard time believing this stunning scenery is real. Sometimes it seems like I’m dreaming!

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In the afternoon, I headed upcountry to visit Kula Botanical Garden located on the lower slopes of Haleakalā.

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On the way I drove past enormous sugar cane fields, the electric green grass swaying in the wind. The first sugar cane plantation on Maui was established in 1849; even in spite of a drop in production in the last few decades, sugar cane is still the #2 crop grown on Maui today.

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A few miles before I got to Kula Botanical Garden, I saw large stands of prickly pear (Opuntia ficus-indica). This is one of the few succulents that have become naturalized on Maui.

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Kula Botanical Garden is one of two private botanical gardens upcountry. (The other, Enchanting Floral Gardens, is located just a few miles away, but it’s closed on Mondays so I didn’t get a chance to visit it.)

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Kula Botanical Garden encompasses 8 acres. Started 45 years ago, it showcases exotic plants from around the world. I will have a more extensive post after I get back; here are some photos to whet your appetite.

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Leucospermum cordifolium next to Acacia koa

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ʻAmaʻu (Sadleria cyatheoides) and ti (Cordyline fruticosa)

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Small waterfall and lush greenery

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Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) and unidentified bromeliads

The last stop on this afternoon’s outing was Surfing Goat Dairy. On my way, I passed this cluster of blooming agaves, their flower spikes seemingly as tall as the palm tree.

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Further down the road I slammed on the brakes when I saw this front yard. Be sure to click the photo to see a larger version—the mailboxes are hilarious.

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Cacti this tall aren’t an everyday sight on Maui—I’ve only come across a few properties that had cacti like these.

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The main reason I stopped at Surfing Goat Dairy was to buy a souvenir for friends of ours at home who have goats—I knew they’d get a kick out of this place. I got to taste a handful of Surfing Goat Dairy’s award-winning cheeses and they were phenomenal. I picked some up for appetizers tonight, and everybody loved them.

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My eyesight might be getting worse as I get older, but I certainly didn’t miss the large clumps of painted bamboo (Bambusa vulgaris ‘Vittata’) along the driveway.

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I think painted bamboo paired with plumeria is a striking combination. Too bad I can’t grow either of them at home!

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8 comments:

  1. Definitely living the Hawaiian dream at the moment. It's refreshing to see some cacti, succulents, and proteas growing there, planting that are right at home to your own place :)

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    1. I don't think leucospermums are hardy enough to grow in Davis. I wish they would because the specimens at the Kula Botanical Garden were amazing.

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  2. How exactly did you pull yourself away from that beach? Something about the idea of going to a botanical garden in Hawaii is funny to me. :)

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    1. It was hard but you can't lie on the beach all day, can you? On second thought, you actually could...

      Hawaii is *the* place to visit botanical gardens. So many plants I would never get a chance to see at home. Plus, the botanical gardens are much less crowded than the beaches, LOL!

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  3. Oh man the colors are so intense. And yes, how did you leave that beach?

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    1. Actually, it was growling stomachs that made us leave :-).

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  4. A couple of years ago Andrew bought me a book about botanical gardens in Hawaii for my birthday. Sadly it didn't come with plane tickets but he said he wanted to take me "someday" and the book was so I could read up in advance. Glad to see you're really getting to visit those gardens.

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  5. Wow, lovely, like from a tropical dream :) I love how the colours of the soil, plants and sky contrast with each other. Jealous you get to be in a place like that!!!! :))

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