Mrs. Juliet Rice Wichman established Limahuli Garden in 1967 to preserve and protect the natural and cultural resources of the valley. For more than 100 years prior, the valley was used to raise cattle. The wild cattle trampled and ate the native plants, and weeds became established in these grazed areas. The cattle also damaged archaeological features. Mrs. Wichman fenced out the cattle and began developing the basic infrastructure we have today. She understood the potential of this area for education and preservation and planned to make Limahuli a living classroom for scientists, students and plant enthusiasts.

In 1976, Mrs. Wichman gave approximately 13 acres of the existing Limahuli Garden to the National Tropical Botanical Garden. She granted the NTBG permission to use additional acreage from her adjacent property, increasing the area used for the Garden to nearly 17 acres. Mrs. Wichman passed away in 1987 at the age of 86, but her legacy lives on; in 1994 her grandson, Charles "Chipper" Wichman, gave the NTBG the adjoining 989 acres, known as Limahuli Preserve.

Juliet Rice Wichman, born in Lihue, Kauai to one of the island's kamaaina families, was a life-long contributor and supporter of NTBG. She was one of the original members of the Hawaiian Botanical Gardens Foundation who sucessfully lobbied for the 1964 congressional charter that established the Pacific Tropical Botanical Garden, later to become the present NTBG. An author and authority on plants and horticulture, she gave geneously of her expertise and support in innumerable ways.

Today Limahuli Garden is fulfilling Mrs. Wichman's vision. The NTBG has opened the Garden to the public for educational tours. To preserve the unique attributes of the valley, the Garden limits the number of visitors. It is the goal of the National Tropical Botanical Garden to protect and increase the number of native species growing in Limahuli valley and to continue efforts to restore the important elements of the remnant native forest for future generations.