The (Marvelous) Botanical Gardens of Oahu

I love visiting Hawaii, not only for the sunshine and beaches but also for the marvelous flora and fauna. What can be better than palm trees swaying in the breeze and giant banyan trees in the parks?

I’m glad you asked!

Because the best of the flowers and the trees can be found in the many Botanical Gardens of Oahu!

We visited four of them – Foster – Ho’omaluhia – Waimea Valley – Wahiawa – and I’m happy to share some of the highlights with you.

The first was Foster Botanical Garden in Honolulu, the oldest of the botanical gardens, a 14-acre oasis in the city. My favorite tree almost didn’t look real – the Quipo – a Giant Hibiscus relative, native to Central America, planted in 1930.

We found another giant member of the Hibiscus family that looked like an elephant’s foot to me: the Baobab tree, planted in 1940.

We visited the 400-acre Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden a few days later on our way to the North Shore.

It’s entrance has become so popular that no stops are allowed until you are inside the park; the first photo below was taken through the windshield of our car. (Better spring for the convertible next time!)

In addition to the mountains, trees and flowers,

I came across this cute family of mongooses. I found out later they’re considered an invasive species. Originally native to India, they were introduced by the sugar industry to control rats in sugarcane fields. Not their fault, right? Don’t they look repentant?

The next day we visited Waimea Valley Botanical Garden, a favorite of ours from earlier trips. Across from famous Waimea Bay Beach Park, it’s steeped in Hawaiian history and culture.

I loved walking under the canopy of the trees which provided shelter from the sun.

On our last full day on Oahu, we made it to our final garden in Wahiawa. According to its website, “cradled between the Wai‘anae and Ko‘olau mountain ranges in central O‘ahu lies Wahiawā Botanical Garden – the “tropical jewel” of the Honolulu Botanical Gardens. This 27-acre garden and forested ravine dates back to the 1930s when this land was used by sugar planters as an experimental arboretum.”

It was a real jungle, draped in vines, and I found geckos hiding in waxy flowers.

I loved the Mindanao Gum, Rainbow Eucalyptus, one of the fastest growing trees in the world,

and the giant Ficus.

After leaving we headed up the road to the Dole Plantation for a look at the pineapple fields

and of course, a delicious Dole Pineapple Float.

It tasted as good as it looks!

By the way, did you notice anything missing?

The birds! There were so many I decided to share them in a post all their own.

Stay tuned for that. 🙂

~ Susanne

25 Comments on “The (Marvelous) Botanical Gardens of Oahu

  1. The trees and plants look prehistoric! I expected to see a dinosaur peering through the leaves (at least a lizard somewhat larger than the gecko)!

  2. Looks like I might have to hit these gardens if and when I’m in Oahu next. I love the big trees and tropical foliage.

  3. Ooh, fabulous! I love the gecko peeping out of that flower, and the trees look majestic 😲 I never knew the baobab trees I love are related to the hibiscus, one of my favourite flowers!

  4. Thank you for the beautiful virtual visit to these spectacular gardens and looking forward very much to the bird photos! Of all the things I loved about Hawaii (please don’t think me silly) the fragrance of the tropics is my favorite. And each island seems to have its own signature scent – the baobab tree and its briefly blooming flowers are one; Maui always seemed to me to be about ginger flower everywhere. PS like American cottonwood trees, the ancient baobab is highly valued in drought-ridden areas for its ability to detect and store water. Often where there are baobabs in an otherwise dry area, you will find groundwater. Just like our “Alamo” cottonwood!

    • So glad you enjoyed the virtual visit! I agree that the fragrance is part of the wonder of Hawaii. I don’t recall seeing a baobab tree before but was certainly impressed with this one. The pamphlet said it was native to tropical Africa, some over 2,000 yrs old. It also said its fleshy trunk was a natural water reservoir.

  5. Absolutely beautiful pictures! I recognize some of those scenes from watching TV shows filmed in Hawaii! 😂
    Looking forward to the bird post.

  6. You shrunk! Those trees make all you look like little fairy-people!
    Thank you for sharing these amazing gardens. 😊

  7. Pingback: Back with the Birds of Oahu – Cats and Trails and Garden Tales

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