Foster Botanic Garden

A couple days after visiting the Koko Crater Botanical Garden, we visited the Foster Botanical Garden.

The brochure says "more than 75,000 visitors view the gardens annually" and I think that's a shame considering that Oahu's population is about 780,000 and five million people visit the island every year. Clearly, word has not gotten out.

I'm NOT starting off with a picture of the information guide crashed out at his desk. Please focus your attention on the fantastic display of nuts and seed capsules that grow here.


You can't grow these things in the temperate zone, and the trees are too big for a small garden anyway. And the trees at Foster are huge. Trees dominate the garden. There are only a few true shrubs and nothing a coastal gardener would recognize as "perennials" (unless I count bromeliads, crinums, and orchids). Mid-level plants are generally aroids and hibiscus.

Anyhow, back to those fruits and nuts:



The visual interest of reproductive parts in this climate is unbeatable. Ahem.



And I'm feeling a lot of love for visual textures here in general...








spider lily



Dead trunks adorned with bromeliads, mosses, orchids, and tillandsias serve as accent points throughout the garden.



But what impressed me more than anything else was the collection of trees.


Really big trees.





The Oahu County Arborist Committee has designated over 100 trees on the island as "exceptional by reason of age, rarity, location, size, aesthetic quality, endemic status or historical and cultural significance"; 24 of those trees are found in this garden, including enormous specimens of Adansonia digitata (Baobab), Enterolobium cyclocarpum (Earpod), Ceiba pentandra (Kapok), Cavanillesia platanifolia (Quipo), and most impressive during my visit, Couroupita guianensis, the Cannonball Tree.


And they mean it.



The garden brochure: "This member of the Brazil-nut family (Lecythidaceae) is native to Guiana. Note that the flowers are borne only on special stems on the main trunk. The heavy spherical fruit gives rise to the common name."



Besides being large and interesting, the flowers were powerfully and sweetly fragrant.


Finally, a post about the community garden outside the paid area of the Foster Botanical Garden.


anna maria said...

Beautiful photos. i love the Baobab and you are almost making me miss Hawaii. Almost.

Gardener of La Mancha said...

Very cool cannonball tree flowers. They look like they're being pollinated by sea slugs. Have you seen any silverswords? I've never been to the islands, but those are plants I've always wanted to see.

chuck b. said...

Are you talking about the Hawaiian natives that evolved from ancient Hemizonia? I just learned about the silverswords, and completely forgot to look for them.

Christopher C. NC said...

It was actually a little painful for me to look at these pictures, sitting here in my long underwear and wearing my rubba slippas in the house, a Hawaiian no no, cause the floor is too cold to walk on.

I never did get to Foster Botanic Garden, but I only went to Oahu a couple times in 20 years. Too many people there.

chuck b. said...

It's better to be pleasantly warm than frighteningly cold, for sure. On the other hand, summer is right around the corner. I keep telling myself that anyway.

lisa said...

Great pictures, Chuck! That cannonball tree is really something...are the fruits edible?

Gardener of La Mancha said...

Yep, those are the silverswords I'm talking about. Do you still have time to hunt them down? From the pictures alone, I think it'd be worth it (but I have no idea where you'd find one). I wonder if they are in cultivation. There's some info on them here:


Blackswamp_Girl said...

Those are Ents! Don't you see the feet on those amazingly huge trees?

What cool photos. I would like a few dead tree trunks with orchids, tillandsias and such in my garden.