Photo Gallery: Garden of Eden
In Hawaii, thanks to the year-round warm climate and abundant rainfall, there are always flowers in bloom in gardens all over the islands. Ginger, heliconia, anthurium, plumeria, and hibiscus are some of the most prolific flowering plants. They are also known for their stunning blossoms and varieties. Many of these plants are also found in the subtropical and tropical regions throughout the world. In the U.S. mainland, you may have seen them for sale at local nurseries, even planted them in your gardens or kept as a houseplant. Some are hardier than others, but all of them need protection from cold temperature - along with plenty of water and sunlight - in order to thrive in areas that are not similar to their native habitat.
The flowers in this photo gallery were photographed in the author’s garden and other gardens in the coastal Puna area (USDA zone 12b) on the Big Island of Hawaii . The photos were taken during a garden tour with friends and visitors. You may click on any photo to view the original full size.
Heliconia (Heliconiaceae family) is very popular in flower arrangements at weddings and ceremonies in Hawaii. There are more than 200 varieties, sometimes referred to as lobster claw, parrot flower or false bird-of-paradise. Heliconia grows well in humus-rich soil and needs a lot of water. Most heliconias bloom all year-round, though some have a specific flowering season. There are heliconia varieties that can grow as tall as 50-60 feet! Did you know that banana is a close relative of heliconia?
Ornamental ginger (Zingiberaceae family) also has hundreds of varieties that produce many different flower shapes and forms. Some varieties have blossoms that are extremely fragrant! Given plenty of moisture and filtered sunlight, ornamental ginger can spread quickly, sending their rhizomes (botanical term for root) everywhere in the garden. In Hawaii, you may see them growing happily in the wild: along the roadside or under the canopy of a rainforest. Edible ginger and turmeric (used in Asian cuisine and cooking) are in the same family as ornamental ginger.
Anthurium (Araceae family) is not native to Hawaii but has always been associated with the image of the Hawaiian tropical islands (i.e. you usually see them on a vacation/travel brochure). The attractive heart-shaped flower blooms in an incredible array of size, shape, color and pattern! Anthurium loves shade and mostly thrives in shaded areas. They make great cut flowers because they can last up to a month in a flower arrangement! Anthurium is a major export crop for Hawaii’s flower industry. You can buy a fresh bouquet of anthuriums from Hawaii and have it shipped directly to you anywhere in the world!
Most gardens in Hawaii have hibiscus (Malvaceae family) and plumeria (Apocynaceae family) growing. Plumeria (also called frangipani) has a close connection with the Hawaiian culture. It’s popular in leis making and used to adorn hula dancers. Some plumeria species are cultivated for their exquisite fragrant. Hibiscus comes from a large botanical family containing several hundred species. It’s probably the most widely recognized tropical flower in Hawaii. Hibiscus comes in all sizes and shapes, and can be singles or doubles. The showy blossoms are in so many different colors, shades and hues: white, yellow, orange, red, pink, brown, maroon, violet, purple, and even dark bluish to almost black! There are 7 native hibiscus species found in Hawaii. The beautiful ma’o hau hele yellow hibiscus (Hibiscus brackenridgei) is the official state flower of Hawaii.
ABOUT THIS HUB
The author got lost more than once during the garden tour, he was too busy snapping pictures! His favorite tropical flowering plant is the shell ginger. The flower buds look like little pink sea shells on the beach.
All photos were taken by the author with a SamsungPL120 DualView 14.2MP Digital Camera.
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Copyright © 2013 Viet Doan (punacoast)
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