Leopards and Beefsteak and Hair Plants...Oh, My!
Eight gardens in one delight young visitors to the Urban Garden Center
It may not be an octopus’s garden in the shade, but there is an octopus tree...not to mention a leopard tree, cat’s whisker plant and kangaroo fern. The College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resource's whimsical new Children’s Garden is actually eight theme gardens on 55,000 square feet of the Urban Garden Center in Pearl City.
After surviving the Animal Garden—where 45 plants feature distinctive traits of animals and insects from the air, sea, farm and jungle—families can check the time and admire the precision of the Sun Dial Garden or explore the bog-like wilds of the 180-foot-long Boardwalk Garden.
The House Garden, with its fairy tale cottage, offers a royal flush plant in the bathroom, cup-and-saucer plant in the kitchen and sandpaper vine in the garage. The academically inclined can visit the Hawaiian Alphabet Tree Garden, which features a tree for each letter of the Hawaiian alphabet.
For a complete experience, the Sensory Garden celebrates unique shapes, colors, smells and textures.
Imagination comes into play in the Butterfly Garden, where a curving 50-foot caterpillar tunnel opens to convex mirrors that reflect the visitor with insect features, while plants like butterfly bush and butterfly weed attract the real thing.
And nothing builds up an appetite like viewing the pepper, pineapple, onion, tomato and herb plants in the wedges of the Pizza Garden.
Urban Garden Center Manager Dale Sato originated the Children’s Garden concept in 1999. It was built with the help of 200 center and community volunteers, who were inspired by young visitors. The project received the 2004 Betty Crocker Landscape Award of Excellence in the Community Garden category.
Project manager Steven Nagano appreciates the honor, but is happy to satisfy an even more critical crowd. "More than 1,500 children tour the Urban Garden Center’s vegetable, herb, ground cover and fruit collections each year. Now they have a set of gardens built especially for them," he says.
The Urban Garden Center is located at 955 Kamehameha Highway. Enter from the Diamond Head side of the Home Depot/Public Storage parking lot. For information, call 808 453-6050.
Windward Garden Features Native Plants
Windward Community College faculty members Angela Nishimoto and Steve Moulden have targeted an older audience, bringing college students’ textbooks to life. The pair created a garden of plants native to Hawaiʻi or introduced by its earliest inhabitants. Leeward faculty donated plants for the garden, which is located in front of the agricultural building on the Kāneʻohe, Oʻahu, campus.