Part 1, A tour into a garden of paradise...Princeville Botanical Gardens...

The road on the way to the Princeville Botanical Gardens is in itself a breathtaking experience.
Finally, the skies cleared and it was time to tour the Princeville Botanical Gardens on a gorgeous sunny day.  I couldn't have been more excited to be able to attend after postponing Tuesday's planned tour due to rain.


Upon entering the waiting area for the tour, I was impressed by the quality of the merchandise offered for sale.
Wearing my BugsAway clothing imbedded with insect repellent I was definitely overdressed in the warm weather in a long sleeve shirt, long pants, a hat and carrying the requisite Epipen in the event of a bee sting.  I was ready to go with the camera draped over my shoulder, my pockets filled with extra camera batteries and a water bottle in my waistband, leaving me with no bag to carry and my hands free for taking photos. 


Much to my surprise, this was an excellent location for purchasing locally made tee shirts and  merchandise to bring home, all of which was reasonably priced.
Tom had decided to stay behind to complete some final work with our Nevada accountant for upcoming tax day (on April 15th in the US), so for the first time that I can recall, I was off on a tour on my own.  At 1:30 pm, he dropped me off at the entrance to the gardens where the shop and check in area is located to prepare for the 2:00 pm, three hour tour.  


I had no idea that orchids are grown on trees as shown in the first tree discussed along the tour.  See this link on how to grow orchids on trees, if one is living in an orchid growing climate.
With a plan for Tom to return around 4:45 pm to pick me up, I waved goodbye, giggling over the ridiculousness of us rarely being apart these past 30 months as we've traveled the world.  I felt confident and at ease being on my own on the tour but, I knew I'd miss his eagle eye for photo ops.


Everywhere we walked, the scenery was breathtaking.  Unlike many botanical gardens, the owners chose to leave some areas open with expansive green lawns, adding to its beauty.
Harold, our kindly, knowledgeable and enthusiastic host acquainted me and the other seven guests as to general information about the exquisite gardens and by 1:50 the tour was on its way with all registered guests in attendance with our tour guide Mary Lou.


Lucy's vegetable and herb garden was protected by a fence to keep the pigs and chickens out.
On previous tours there have been as many as 20 guests but, with the recent pouring rain and slippery conditions as of yesterday, this small group was ideal for my soon to be obsessive photo taking and diligent observations on the tour. Reservations for the tour are available online at this link.

There were numerous Papaya Trees on the property.  Mary Lou presented a container filled with luscious sections of the tender papaya flesh for the group to taste. 
Here's a quote from Princeville Botanical Gardens well done website, which I couldn't have described better:

"Princeville Botanical Gardens began as a personal hobby of Bill and Lucinda Robertson in 2001, only to expand in scope and surpass all expectations when they moved to Kauai full time in 2004.

Hidden away in the jungle valleys of Princeville on Kauai’s North Shore, dramatic topography, natural landscaping, and tender cultivation have culminated into a sacred garden paradise.

Previously cattle land, centuries of introduced plants had strangled out the native flora throughout the Anini Stream valley. After fighting back the jungle, the Robertsons continue to protect the land from constantly encroaching invasive species. Supplementing the tired soil with organic fertilizers and homemade compost, organic and sustainable practices are a priority in the gardens. With the help of passionate gardeners, enthusiastic friends and neighbors, and painstaking physical labor, the land has slowly been transformed."


The views continue in each of the seven areas of the gardens.
Rather than retell the information about the development and growth of the Princeville Botanical Gardens as so well described on their website, I prefer to share my experience from the perspective of an enthusiastic tourist over the next few days.


The terraced areas of the gardens required a massive number of boulders to be brought in by semi trucks which occurred over a period of years to complete the terracing.  The Princeville Botanical Gardens although appearing to be complete based on the tour, is a work in progress requiring tremendous care and future development which Bill and Lucy continue with a passion.
For those, such as me, who happen to find tremendous joy in perusing unique and often astounding vegetation I was in awe over that which Bill and Lucy have so exquisitely incorporated into their gardens.  This intimate and informative tour exceeded all of my expectations. 

This red fruit caught my eye although I was unsure as to its identity.
Not only was the sequence of the tour presented in an ideal flow as the grounds continually changed and progressed, each area became more exciting than the next.  There was never once during the three hour tour of the seven unique gardens that my attention or interest waned for even a moment.

Although Hawaii may not be the perfect climate for cactus to proliferate, many varieties of cactus seem to thrive as this has that I spotted on the tour.
I should mention that although the tour is generally easy to navigate, it wouldn't work for those with wheelchairs, walkers or who had difficultly walking or managing steep terrain. 

The Miracle Tree possessing leaves that have multiple medicinal and health improving benefits.
Although a few spots we maneuvered were fairly steep and a few others required careful stepping on uneven stones and steps, it was considerably less of a trek than many other venues in Kauai.  This tour wouldn't be suitable for strollers or young children.

Poinsettias are an emotion provoking flower reminiscent of Christmas's past for those who observe.
As we wandered through the seven areas, there were only a few occasions where mosquitoes were biting (Mary Lou had repellent to share) and only a short distance where bees were prevalent. 

Kava plant, a known mood altering plant used by enthusiasts all over the world for its sedative and anesthetic properties.
I had previously sprayed my ankles and arms but was otherwise protected by my long sleeves and pants.  I wasn't bitten once.  I wore comfortable walking shoes but noticed several others wearing flip flops, a common occurrence we've observed on many tours in the islands.  We're always surprised by the lack of surefootedness in such flimsy footwear. 

Baobab tree.  We'd seen many of these in Kenya.
When one of the other guests mentioned they were heading to Queen's Bath in a few days, I suggested they wear sport or walking shoes with some traction as opposed to flip flops.  Safety should always be the first consideration when touring any of the often steep and uneven terrain in Kauai.



Many trees and plants produce beautiful flowers such as this Justicia Aubea.
 
Mary Lou's warm and friendly demeanor made the tour feel as if it was being presented by a passionate and enthusiastic friend proudly sharing the stories and history of the growth and development of the gardens.  I couldn't have felt more at ease.  She had a magical way of knowing exactly when to continue on, allowing me and the others to take our photos and gawk at the wonder before our eyes.


These Angel Trumpets are known to be hallucinogenic and abused by some who partake in its effects.  We'd seen these flowers in Madeira, Portugal and had no idea as to their drug-like properties.
Bear with me today and over the next few days as I share many photos some of which I may not be able to identify. Having seen hundreds if not thousands of various plants, flowers and trees growing in the gardens, it was impossible to recall the names and details of each one.  Early on in the tour, Mary Lou explained she wouldn't have time in the three hour tour to describe each and every botanical.

Lipstick bamboo.  Look at these colors!
If any of our readers are curious as to more details of a specific plant please contact me and I'll contact Harold for a further description and update the post accordingly.  

Shrimp plant also known as Yellow Candles.
Tomorrow, we'll be back with more photos, the chocolate tasting event including chocolate made by Lucy utilizing the cacao beans grown on the property, the walk across the footbridge over the river and the progression of the tour as it continued through the enjoyable three hour period.

Happy a fabulous weekend!  We have social activities planned for both tonight and tomorrow night, details of which we'll share once we complete the Princeville Botanical Gardens series.
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Photo from one year ago today, April 10, 2014:

It was a year ago today, that we began and long and arduous drive through the Atlas Mountains in Morocco.  This scene is of a soccer team playing in the desert as we made our way up the mountains, at points as much as 14,000 feet above sea level.  For more details, please click here.


2 comments:

Elizabeth Banks said...

What stunningly beautiful colours in those flowers and plants. The diversity of plants we have on our planet is amazing all suited to their own climate and environment. Thank you for sharing these with us Jess.

Jessica said...

Liz, having the opportunity to post three days of photos about the exquisite vegetation grown in Hawaii is indeed an honor and pleasure. I just completed Part 3 and tomorrow, we'll continue on with other new photos and stories. Yes, our planet is truly amazing and wherever we may travel there is never a shortage of vegetation and at times, wildlife to share.

Thanks for continuing in our journey with us. It's always a pleasure knowing you are there.

Much love,
Jess & Tom

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