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I'm Back!

Got back from Hawai'i last night. Drove up from St Louis in the  
middle of the ice storm - talk about a change of venue! Of course,  
the entire time we were away the weather here was mild, so I really  
didn't escape winter at all. Can't complain, though. It was a  
wonderful trip, even though it was showery. The only thing we wanted  
to do that we didn't do was the helicopter tour (weather). Spent the  
whole week on Kauai in a one bedroom condo on the ocean in Kapa'a.  
Visited three botanic gardens: Allerton and McBryde Gardens on the  
South Shore of the island, both part of the National Tropical  
Botanical Garden; and Na 'Aina Kai Botanical Gardens on the North  
Shore. The Allerton Garden was more formal, reflecting the tastes of  
its creator, Robert Allerton, a child of the 19th Century, who bought  
the property in 1938. He was the son of a wealthy Chicago  
businessman, who studied art in Europe and later, despairing of  
creating anything worthy of those masters, destroyed everything he  
had done, returned home, and told his father he wanted to farm. His  
father owned property between Decatur and Champaign, and put him in  
charge of it. He never lost his love for art, and was a collector and  
patron for the rest of his life. His Illinois property "The Farms" is  
now the University of IL Conference Center. His Hawai'i property and  
gardens are very much in the European style, and while impressive,  
and making excellent use of plants that thrive in the tropics, was  
not truly to my taste (would visit again in a heart beat, though!).  
His engineering of the water features was inspired. No pumps are  
used... just gravity - and this is on the "dry" side of the island.  
The McBryde Garden is contiguous with Allerton - just inland, or  
mauka (toward the mountain) as they say in Hawai'i. While a you must  
have a guided tour of Allerton, you are dropped off with a map and a  
written guide for McBryde. It was divided into four areas: native  
Hawaiian plants, plants brought to the islands by the Polynesians,  
exotic plants of the cut flower, timber, and food/spice markets, and  
finally, the palm family. We spent almost 3 hours wandering around  
(and I contributed to the sustenance of the local mosquitos). The  
last garden was almost the opposite side of the island, and is owned  
now by a non profit foundation. It was designed by wealthy retirees  
Joyce and Ed Doty and has 3 areas: a hardwood plantation, which will  
eventually help to support the gardens, a "wild" area, and a "formal"  
area which includes a recreation about 1/3 lifesize of a Hawaiian  
family settlement, an ingenious children's garden, a bog garden, a  
cactus garden, a "lagoon" with waterfalls and a tea house, and a  
maze. Throughout, they had placed bronze sculptures, some 52 of them.  
These were by Gary Price, and others who do similar work. Again, not  
to my taste, but if someone were to go to Kauai and wanted to visit  
only one garden - this is the one I would recommend. What else did we  
do? Saw Waimea Canyon, called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, found  
waterfalls for DH to photograph, lounged on the beach (when it wasn't  
raining), bird watched - sighted some of the more common native birds  
(although even they are not common), shopped, and ate! Now, its back  
to reality. Will be catching up all weekend!

Cathy, west central IL, z5b

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