Friday, March 30, 2007

On Any Given Day

Jim Kunstler of Clusterfuck Nation was on Maui last week to give a talk. I missed it. He posted his impression of Maui on his blog. I have not read enough of his work to state what he is all about, but my limited impression of him is that he thinks the combination of the burgeoning human population and dwindling resources are going to cause some very unpleasant major reorganizations of how humans go about living on this planet.

He was talking about Maui so I had to leave a comment on his blog.

As a resident of Maui for the last twenty years and someone who has witnessed the growth and changes, I would say Jim's assessment of Maui is very accurate. We have been Kalifornicated.

Sorry I couldn't read all 191 comments. I am in the process of filling out applications, writing a resume and cover letter to get a job on the mainland in an undisclosed location. Not that keeping it a secret matters because the same thing that happened to Maui is happening where I am headed.

Why am I leaving? Because I will never be able to own a home or buy land here without making money a primary focus of my life. Not gonna happen. They are packing us in like sardines on the little bits of land open to development and while that makes some sense for city planning and land preservation that isn’t why it is being done. I need more elbow room. A gardener needs land.

If you would like to see some of the beauty of Maui, visit my blog.

In a way it has been a year long goodbye.

It seems my comment worked some cold bitter person's nerves in Connecticut and with a little detective work he was able to e-mail me his impression of me.

Hello, sir. I read your comments on the Kunstler blog and I find you to be endowed with a sense of entitlement. Sure, Maui is super expensive and you don't want to be immersed in the ratrace of making money anymore. I understand.

Maui has tried to seek some balance, forgive the pun, to accomodate visitors and still try to maintain some semblance of paradise based beauty. Sure, you can moan and whine about the Kaanapali strip. Hotels like vertical abortions. Lousy architecture, etc. However, hotels are trying to make themselves affordable to a maximum number of visitors, hence the absence of fine architecture, sorry about the pun.

I've visited many times from northeast Connecticut. I even like Honolulu. Lots there to like, perhaps not by snobs seeking virginal conditions that they can fuck up. However, I like the ambiance and it sure beats the Northeast in winter. You've become a candy ass in your 20 years there. I can also whine about heavy population growth in my hometown in Connecticut, for for what? What do I accomplish?

Maui has reached some sort of equilibrium. It cannot remain uninhabited or foreign and nasty to haoles. The very huge majority of visitors love the place. If you no longer love the place, please move. It beats a zillion other places in the country, ever been to Fargo, ND in winter?

It's regrettable that it no longer satisfies you in your utter contempt of visitors, beer cans, traffic jams in Lahaina. Some things are not pleasant, but a traffic jam in Lahaina beats the hell out of the Northeast in a snowstorm where people can't get to where they want.

I'd go back to Maui tomorrow if I could. However, I'm in my own ratrace for survival here. I can't afford Maui every year, but often enough. If Maui does not suit you anymore, I'm sorry. We all have things forced upon us that suck.

Out of much of Maui, I find Kihei the least attractive. That area is pretty bleak. But, it's nice and warm.

My visits to Maui have left me with a great love for Napili Beach, the Makena golf courses, the views out in toward Molokini. Real fine eye candy.

I have nothing against you, I can understand your angst. Sadly, you seem to yearn for the 1800's with a virginal and untouched country. Ain't gonna happen again.

I was a little taken aback. Offer someone a window on the beauty of Maui and they piss on you.

I know you are not supposed to feed the trolls (note to self: heed your own advice) but I replied to his e-mail.

You have projected an incredible number of thoughts into the mind of someone you know nothing about from a single comment on a blog and spending a little time looking at my blog.

You don't know me or what I think. It isn't wise to think you know what is going on in other people's heads.

And he responded to that with:

spoken like a true champion

Now I am not really sure what that means? Is it good or bad? Whatever!

Let me assure you Bitter in Connecticut that no amount of development or growth can blind me to the beauty and charms of the place where I live.

I have been blessed with the heart and soul of a gardener. I have a strong connection with the aina. I walk through beauty on any given day where ever I am because I am able to see it.

There isn't much I can do about the growth and changes that are occurring planet wide and leaving here isn't going to get me away from it. I can recognize that I am part of the problem. I can control a little how I interact with the earth within the confines of the technological consumer culture I live in. I can also choose not to turn a blind eye to the changes that are going on.

Much to the shock of many refugees moving here from the mainland with fantasy visions of paradise, this is Maui. This is not Mars. We are on the same planet and subjected to the same rules and forces as the rest of you. Maui is not exempt from anything. There are plenty bugs here.

I have had the spirit, gumption and good fortune to live in many beautiful places in my life. My life on Maui is not something I cast aside in contempt and disgust. I will leave here filled with gratitude and buoyed by the love of many friends and family. The universe has told me a beautiful new garden awaits me and it is time to move on.

So Bitter in Connecticut a space is opening up on Maui. You may have it. If you aren't a trust fund baby be prepared to work two jobs or have tons of roommates. Don't forget to stop and smell the Plumeria.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Evening Stroll

I often go for a stroll through the garden right around sunset when it has cooled off a touch and the world is settling down. Sometimes it pays to look east when the sun is setting.

Long White Whiskers on a Pure Yellow Flower.

Orange Protuberances from Light Green Cylinders.

Sit Still Accidents Happen.

The light needs to be just bright enough or the shutter speeds slows enough to detect to my slight powertool induced wobble.

New Meat

For a resume

Christopher C*****

A large beautiful forested piece of family land in the mountains of Western North Carolina was an offer I could not pass up. After 20 years running a very successful Landscape Design and Maintenance business on the island of Maui that began with a pair of Corona hand pruners and a copy of Marie C. Neal’s book In Gardens of Hawaii, I am looking forward to relocating to the Asheville area in late June of 2007. A new garden called me.

To use my extensive experience in tropical landscape design and installation in association with fellow green industry professionals. I would like to explore new opportunities and expand my present knowledge in a setting that offers opportunities for growth. The result of this association would benefit myself, the company and the local community by employing horticulture to promote knowledge of sound environmental practices.

Professional History
C. C***** Landscapes 1987-2007

Created landscape designs for new and existing homes as sold drawings only and installations to completion.
Managed projects from the ground and soil preparation to finished planting.
Designed and installed irrigation systems.
Consulted with owners on construction aspects of the landscape.
Coordinated landscape design needs with the various construction trades during active construction work.
Provided weekly full service landscape maintenance to private homes and associations.
Trained and managed landscape crew.
Provided garden consultation service.
Irrigation system diagnosis and repair.
Numerous clients with over a decade of continuous association.

Kihei Plant Productions 2002-2007
Propagated and grew over 100 species of container plants for the landscape trade.
Sold wholesale to local nursery and as a retail nursery open to the public.
Designed and produced website
Profitable business in the second year of operation.

Bachelor of Science in Ornamental Horticulture, University of Florida
Landscape Design Program, Colorado State University
A.A. Degree, University of Florida
Twenty years of hands on experience
Self taught basic computer skills

My Gardening Blog: Tropical Embellishments
Botanical and nature photography
Creative writing
Online Garden Forums

Monday, March 26, 2007

Crown Flower Cooperating

It includes an ant that can.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

After a Nap

Argemone glauca, Pua kala, Prickly Poppy.
I have been feeling a bit prickly for the last couple of days.

The other African Iris, Dietes vegeta.
I can tell when some plant has been on a TV gardening show or in some magazine. I start getting a lot of hits on those search words. African Iris has been hot for the last few weeks.

Calotropis gigantea, Pua kalaunu, Crown flower.
This flower was very uncooperative and did not want to be photographed. I will try again later when it is in a better mood.

Some kind fern that is a weed when water is added to the desert.

Caesalpinia pulcherrima, Dwarf Poinciana in Hawaii. It is called other names in different parts of the world.

I have been called all sorts of things too.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Look Orchids

While I work on a new resume that is less boring and more me I can distract you with these pretty orchid flowers.

These are all different colors of Epidendrum species of orchid.

The focal point in closeups is quite precise and sometimes hard to get just right looking through reading glasses with fading eyes onto the display screen of the camera out in the wild.

This flower is half the size of the two above which are about the size of a dime when fully open.

This would be just another pretty flower and not an orchid.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Would You Want to Talk to Me?

This is the meat of a potential one page resume. Proper formatting and perhaps a touch of color would be on a printed version. What do you think? Constructive criticism is welcome. I'm a Big Boy now.

A portfolio is another matter. Yikes! Life in a small town and all my work from referral has made it somewhat unnecessary. I have never advertised the landscape business in twenty years. Another project to assemble I guess.

A Resume:

To use my 20 plus years of experience in tropical horticulture in association with fellow green industry professionals to explore new avenues and challenge my present knowledge in an environment that offers opportunities for growth. The end result of this association would benefit myself, the company and the local community by employing horticulture to promote knowledge of sound environmental practices.

 Bachelors of Science Degree in Ornamental Horticulture.
 20 years of full range experience in landscape design, installation and maintenance.
 Computer knowledge in website production, Excel and Word programs.
 Produced and designed a website for a plant nursery
 Frequent contributor to Personal Garden Blog
Tropical Embellishments
 Experience with fiction and non-fiction writing.
 Experienced in training and managing employees.
 Client list includes both residential and commercial accounts, many with over 15 years of continuous association.

Professional History
 C. C***** Landscapes 1987-2007
Proprietor of full service business which offers all of the following: commercial and residential landscape design and maintenance, garden installation and consultation, irrigation system design, installation and repair, pest management and fertilization. Overall landscape management for second home vacation estates.

 Kihei Plant Productions, a Tropical Landscape Plant Nursery. 2002-2007 Propagator and grower of container plants for the landscape trade. This nursery serves both the wholesale and retail market with over 100 plant species grown.

 Kanapaha Botanical Gardens 1985-1987 Volunteer and weekend supervisor. Gainesville, Florida

 Catering and Wait Staff 1978–1985 Experience in many events and numerous clients at the Denver Country Club, Cherry Hills Country Club and Turkey Creek Country Club

 B.S. Degree in Ornamental Horticulture, College of Agriculture, University of Florida
 Landscape Design Program, Colorado State University
 A.A. Degree, University of Florida

References furnished upon request

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Palm Peas for IPS

Hello palm enthusiasts at The International Palm Society forum. One of their members got lost in the view at Kalawao and shared it with the folks there. Some of them have been visiting the blog so I thought I would try and really get their juices flowing with an intimate look at a Thatch Palm.

It is also called a Peaberry Palm which I did not know until just now because of the small size of the fruit. I like the fruit when they are ripening because of the changing multi-colored display it puts on.

For a relatively small single trunked palm, the inflorescence of pea sized fruit is quite impressive. The flower starts out as a three to four foot long wispy cotton candy looking thing. It is off white with a touch of yellow cream and loaded with pollen.

In order to properly display the generous crop of fruits I have to remove the lower dead fronds which remain attached unless you cut them off.

This is a great palm for the teeny tiny yards that surround most new home construction here. It is fairly slow growing so it will remain in human scale for quite some time before approaching its mature height of about thirty feet. It has a very slender trunk and the deeply dissected segments of the leaf give it a very attractive outline.

There are not any thorns on the petiole which is a big plus in my book. Planted small it can work as a shrub for many years before developing a tall trunk with a more petite and airy look than the palmetto palms, Sabal minor of Florida and the southeast.

I just love the frond on this palm and this is one of my favorite images.

I have identified the Thatch Palm that sprouted from seed in my garden many years ago from a palm that was moved and died when the deck on the main house was rebuilt as Thrinax excelsa. Since then I have propagated hundreds more from this palm. If anyone from the ISP thinks I could be wrong on the species do not hesitate to let me know.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Let Us Pray

The tour of Kalaupapa and Kalawao is soaked in religious history and imagery. As a lapsed Catholic I have made my peace with the Church and organized religion long ago. I don't now and never have recoiled from the art and architecture that is used to speak to the great unknown. For me a lot of the art seems freed of dogma. It is easier to touch the spiritual through art.

In Kalaupapa:

Refrigerated Nun

Kitty Communion

The Colors of Mary

Conversation Beneath a Vaulted Ceiling

Skull on the Right Foot of a Preacher Man

Kamiano aka Father Damien

Kalaupapa Harbor Statue

In Kalawao:

The First Little Part of a Church

The Resting Hand of a Saint and the Rest of the Church

Silver Chandeliers

The Sanctuary in Exile

Red Hot Chilipeppers and Flowers

These are colorful enough to count as floweresque. This pepper appeared on its own and a women wandering the garden one day told me it was a Tabasco pepper. She was from Louisiana. OK then.

Calathea insignis, the Rattle Snake Plant.

A Molokai Harbor Hibiscus.

Playing with Heliconia. Two bracts.

Four bracts.

Orange and Blue.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

Carol at May Dreams Gardens encourages garden bloggers to post what is blooming in their gardens on the 15th of each month. This is my first time to participate. All the bloggers leave a comment on her Bloom Day post as a gathering point from which to wander the world to see what is blooming.

Jasminum multiflorum, Downy Jasmine is a rambling shrub with vine like tendencies.

Pachystachys lutea, Yellow Shrimp Plant. This may be cheating since this is in bloom almost 365 days a year.

The long stemmed yellow rose I cut back on February 8th is loaded with buds and has one open flower. It may still have a tag with its official name but I don't really care.

Petrea volubilis, Sandpaper Vine is a sporadic bloomer for me. I have never given it a fair shot planted in the ground in full sun. It has remained as a potted plant in a crowded nursery. The purplish blue of the flower spikes is very captivating when it does put on a few blooms.

Springtime in Hawaii. The more seasonal heliconias begin to put on a show. This is Heliconia wagneriana.

These are just a few of the things blooming in my garden on March the 15th 2007.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Phallic Rock of Molokai

Ka Ule o Nanahoa

It is said that this stone can help infertile couples conceive. Women would come with offerings and spend the night with the stone and leave pregnant in the morning.

Offerings at this fertility shrine continue to this day.

Update: March 16th

The backside of Molokai's Phallic Rock looks a lot like a Barcalounger. It would be very easy and maybe even comfortable for a women to spend the night with the Rock and dream sweet dreams of fertility.

If getting pregnant is not what you want then it is wise to carry a big stick with you when visiting the Phallic Rock as this young lady is wise to do.