Saturday, September 29, 2007

Book Signings: Borders Hilo, Sat. Oct. 6 @ 2pm; Borders Kona, Sun. Oct. 7 @ 12 pm

Two more book signing dates are coming up. Then I can get back to weeding. Or fixing my greenhouse. Maybe I'll just make some iced jasmine tea.

Check out what Keaau artist Patti Datlof planted in her lava-like pot at right. You can see other work she and Karen Hagen do on page 80 of my book. I've also seen their pieces at Grove Gallery in downtown Hilo, at plant sales and art fairs. Gorgeous!

Thanks for supporting local business!

Nice lei, yeah? Christine Reed of Basically Books welcomed me to my book signing with this spectacular orchid lei.

If you were able to make it, you braved the rain and traffic barriers to downtown in preparation of tonight's Ho'olaule'a -- you are pals in deed! Thanks so much!

Christine asked if I'd come back for the holiday season, so that may be in future plans.

It was great to talk story with Hilo folks and a few newcomers, too.

If you didn't make it and still want a signed copy, Basically Books has some still available in store.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Book Signing @ Basically Books, Sat. 9/29, 12 pm

Hope you'll come by Basically Books on Saturday 9/29 from 12-1 pm. I'll be signing books in permanent pen, which is still an oddly wicked feeling to my inner librarian.

Before I forget, though, I must remind you that is the day of the Aloha Week Ho'olaulea in downtown Hilo. Though the festivities don't start until that evening, the roads are blocked off from early morning. So if you're coming to Basically Books that day, your best bet for parking is on Waianuenue Ave., or the municipal parking lot, or street parking thereabouts -- it's only a block away.

The mornings are getting cooler.

Now that it isn't as hot and humid when I first open my eyes, I'm actually eager to weed some patches I've subjected to benign neglect while getting my daughter off to college and son into a new school.

There's something deeply satisfying about clearing away the tall grasses invading a corner planted with native Hawaiian hapu'u (tree fern), kupukupu (sword fern), 'ohia lehua. For my efforts I was treated to a pleasant surprise: the deep green glossy foliage of a handsome naio had begun to wind up and around a hapu'u, hugging it like an old friend, offering hundreds of white berries with seeds to replant. I discovered I had orchids and a "Kaumana" anthurium in bloom, too. I'd like to think I'm doing the world a favor, but things grow in spite of my "help," it seems.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Hi there, plant geeks.

I've decided to join the blogosphere. (Yes, I'm in the throes of the dreaded book promotion period.)

After a year of intense craziness, Container Gardening in Hawai'i: How to Grow Paradise in a Pot is now finally published by Mutual Publishing and available from local booksellers and online retailers. And it seems to be getting off to a good start, thanks to everyone's support.

I've just returned from a book signing tour of Oahu, during which I was able to do some fun plant activities.

Heidi Bornhorst, author of "Growing Native Hawaiian Plants" and writer for the Honolulu Advertiser, showed me around the gorgeous landscaping at the Hale Koa Hotel, where she is the landscape director. We stopped by an auspicious tree, a symbol of peace grown from a cutting from the giant Bodhi tree in Foster Botanical Garden. This Bodhi tree was planted in memorium of Christine Snyder, who was lost on 9/11/01. Christine was an arborist who also worked for the Outdoor Circle and was Heidi's dear friend.

The next day we went to Foster Botanical Garden, where Heidi had been the director for many years. There was a special event to celebrate the birthday of Mary Foster who bequeathed the garden to the city in 1930. We paused to honor the enormous Bodhi tree (Ficus religiosa) at the entrance, which Mary Foster had brought back from India as a piece of the original Bodhi tree the Buddha sat under when he attained enlightenment.

There was a plant sale with native Hawaiian plants, unusual ti plants, and new variety of plumeria called, what else, "Mary Foster" -- with stunning bright pink blossoms.

(Heidi told me that Foster Botanical Garden holds a big plant sale in December each year, in case you happen to be there then.)

Remember, if you bring plants from Oahu to the Big Island you must have them inspected by the Hawaii State Department of Agriculture. Inspectors aren't always at the gates, only if there are incoming mainland flights, so in case you're flying when they aren't there you must go to their office on the Ewa service road between the interisland arrivals on the first floor. If your plant passes inspection, it is given an official sticker which allows you to bring it on the plane.

And of course, DO NOT bring home anything that shows the slightest bit potential for being invasive. This past weekend I brought home a native Hawaiian 'I'i fern that Kay Lynch of La'au Hawai'i, a grower specializing in native ferns, was presenting at the Foster Botanical Garden.

It's good to be back on the Big Island!