The next time you’re feeling frazzled driving through the streets of Honolulu, take a break and head on up to the Lyon Arboretum, nestled deep in the heart of Manoa Valley. It’s an easy drive and within minutes away of the all hustle and bustle you can stroll through a misty tropical rainforest, breathe in fresh O2, hear the rejuvenating sounds of a bubbling stream and songbirds performing their lusty arias. Tension just melts away as you gaze upon the renovated ancient lo’i or a quiet pond, smell the sweet perfume of plants in love. Ahh.
Speaking of love, I fell head over heels for this patch of pandan wangi, Pandanus amaryllifolius, planted beneath native Hawaiian loulu palms (Pritchardia sp.)
The incense-like scent was so powerful the pandan signaled its presence long before it came into view. I couldn't help but take several deep, relaxing breaths here. Pandan leaves add rich flavor to many Thai dishes; they're also used to make scented water for religious ceremonies.
Weaving between the pandan were betel vines (Piper betle); their dark green, glossy, heart-shaped leaves were my favorite Valentines of the week.
If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.
--Henry David Thoreau