Vacation in Maui

– Posted in: Garden Travels
Kepaniwai Park Heritage Gardens, Iao Valley Maui, Hawaii

Kepaniwai Park Heritage Gardens, Iao Valley Maui, Hawaii

Was I just in Maui County, Hawaii ?  Was last week a dream ?  And are there really gardens there ?

First, lest anyone be concerned that the hurricane that struck Hawaii last week ruined my family vacation, I can only post photos of the damage.  The plumeria trees shook off their flowers, littering the ground.  Do gardeners rake these up and compost them ?  Or maybe get some string and make leis.

Storm damage Maui - plumeria blown from trees

Maui is not known for gardens, but I needed to find something for my Gardening Gone Wild post, and I went touring in the West Maui Mountains.

The lingering clouds made the hills around Kepaniwai Park Heritage Gardens in the Iao Valley seem like they should be in a Chinese painting, which is actually appropriate because the park commemorates  the Chinese, Japanese, New England, Portuguese, Native Hawaiian, Korean, Puerto Rican, and Filipino people.


The Chinese pavilion, so well situated beneath the mountains, features a statue of Sun Yat-sen who lived in Maui in his youth.

I couldn’t figure out how the design motif of commemorative Portuguese garden, but its safe to say most of us would have to choose a different plant palette for our annual bedding plants.


Caladium bedding plants

Up the Iao Valley from the local Heritage park was a State Park featuring the Iao Needle an amazing geologic formation.  But as your GGW correspondent, what I really liked was the garden of Hawaiian and Polynesian plants in the park.

Hawaiian Ti Plant

Hawaiian Ti Plant

The Hawaiian Ti plant (Cordyline fruticosa) is not actually native to Hawaii, nor are the Crotons, but if you garden here, I doubt you would do without.


And for edible gardens ?  Bananas.


As we left the Iao Valley we saw a roadside flower stand.  What mainlander flower lover could resist stopping ? Local farmer selling his “road kill” for $3 a bunch – Ginger flowers and Heliconia.

flowers for sale, Maui

Ahh, vacation.

Gardening Gone Wild regulars know this post is a day late, but hey, I was on Hawaii time…

Hawaiian Time

Saxon Holt
Saxon Holt is the owner of, a garden picture resource for photographs, on-line workshops, and garden photography stories. An award winning photojournalist and Fellow of The Garden Writers Association with more than 25 garden books, he lives and gardens in Northern California. PhotoBotanic - Garden Photography online at
Saxon Holt

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3 Comments… add one

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Donna August 11, 2014, 3:29 pm

I was eagerly awaiting your return as I was following your beautiful FB postings. I am glad the hurricane did little damage one for you and your families welfare foremost, but also because I am headed there in January. You images have been giving me ideas of what to see myself, although I am really looking forward to photographing the fish and those coral reefs. Glad you are back safe and sound. Hopefully the El Niño weather pattern shifts by the time I get there. LOL.

Donna – January is the middle of the humpback whale time. I saw amazing up close videos at the whaling museum. Wasn’t impressed by the snorkeling in Maui. (fun yes but spoiled by Caribbean…)

Kelly August 11, 2014, 4:35 pm

we went to Maui last year. It is such a beautiful place. Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures.

Thanks Kelly – and these are just off the beaten path photos – Saxon

Gabriel T. August 12, 2014, 5:10 am

Wow, I really need to go to Maui one day ! It looks so peaceful. Also do you know if the Hawaiian Ti plant can be grown in temperate zones ? by being indoors in the winter of course.

The Ti plant is sold at most gift shops and even at the airport. They are root cuttings that sprout once planted in good houseplant soil. I assume ou can but them from specialty nurseries. Look for variegated or red cultivars of Cordyline fruticosa – Saxon

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