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Hawaiian Foster Botanical Gardens

Updated on April 18, 2018
elayne001 profile image

Ruth, aka Elayne Kongaika, was raised in the orchard town of Orem, UT. She married a Polynesian boy and has had amazing travel experiences.

White Lilies Copyright RE Kongaika
White Lilies Copyright RE Kongaika

We have lived in Hawaii for over ten years, and as were making our way through the usual traffic chaos on Vineyard Street in Honolulu we saw a sign that said Foster Botanical Gardens . We were not in a hurry, so we pulled over into the parking lot. The moment we opened our car doors, the most beautiful fragrance drifted to our nostrils. It was coming from the trees surrounding the entrance to the gardens.

Indigenous tree from Africa Copyright RE Kongaika
Indigenous tree from Africa Copyright RE Kongaika

We felt transfigured to another time and place. Luckily I had my camera since I saw so many beautiful tropical flowers in a various colors and shapes. I would start to put my camera away, and then I would see something else that I had to have a picture of. There were small signs labeling the different flowers and plants. We were surprised at how many of them we had never seen before.

We discovered that some of the incredibly large trees that towered over the gardens were planted around 1853. There were trees from many places around the world including Africa. These trees were so magnificent! They actually refer to them as exceptional trees because of their age, rarity, size, location and historical and cultural significance. They indeed were massive and I had to get a few pictures of my husband standing next to the trunks so we could remember how big they were.

The gardens are very well taken care of, and they are separated into areas of special interest including the Exceptional Trees which I have mentioned, the Lyon Orchid Garden which has several new and old world species, the Main Terrace (dating back to 1953), the Middle Terraces which includes beautiful palms, and some local Hawaiian heliconia and ginger plants, the Economic Garden which has various herbs, spices, dyes and even poisonous plants, the Prehistoric Glen which features plants from various countries, and the Orchid Conservatory which has orchids of so many different varieties.

As we strolled through the gardens, I could not help but think it would be the perfect setting for a wedding. I learned that it is possible to have weddings and wedding photos there with a permit. They also offer guided tours and several times a year, school children get to enjoy this enchanting place.

I witnessed flowers and trees that I have never seen before, and had quite an educational and fascinating experience at the Foster Botanical Gardens.

Red Flame plant Copyright RE Kongaika
Red Flame plant Copyright RE Kongaika


  • Lyon Orchid Garden - a collection of Old and New World orchid species
  • Main Terrace - the oldest part of the garden dating from 1853.
  • Middle Terraces - palms, aroids, heliconia and ginger plants.
  • Economic Garden - herb garden, spices, dyes, poisons and beverage plants.
  • Prehistoric Glen - primitive plants from around the world.
  • The Orchid Conservatory - blooming orchid display.
  • Exceptional Trees - 24 trees designated "exceptional" throughout the Garden.

Foster Botanical Gardens:
50 N Vineyard Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96817, USA

get directions

(808) 522-7060

© 2009 Elayne


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