Plant enthusiasts flock to Arbor Day events

LIHU‘E — When Rhianna Javinar, a nursing student at the Hawai‘i Pacific University, graduates, a white hibiscus blossom will be waiting for her to wear.

M. Javinar of Lihu‘e said she used to have an abundance of white hibiscus plants, but they perished.

“I need a white hibiscus for Rhianna when she graduates,” the elder Javinar said. “She can wear it in her ear.”

The white hibiscus was available in several varieties, all native Hawaiian, and one, unique to Kaua‘i.

“You missed the show,” said several people from the monastary in Wailua. “There were a lot of people here when the gates opened.”

Nanea Babila, an intern from the Kaua‘i Community College, said the Lolou palm, great for landscaping due to its small stature, was wiped out early.

Babila said she is working toward a major in environmental science and volunteered to help at the annual Arbor Day Sale hosted by the state’s Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife at its Pua Loke arboretum.

“I like to work with the native plants,” Balila said. “Eventually, I’d like to see some of the wild areas restored with native plantings.”

DOFAW staff members were well-equipped to answer questions from the steady stream of customers who frequented the arboretum, many asking about specific specimens while others were curious to see if a plant would do well where they live.

People interested in planting a tree for Arbor Day can also take advantage of the Kaua‘i Arbor Day Tree Giveaway, Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the parking lot behind the Big Kmart store at the Kukui Grove Center.

“There will be more than 2,000 free trees at this year’s giveaway,” said Keren Gunderson. “Each attendee will receive one free plant on entry, with more plants ‘earned’ by stopping by the different educational booths.”

A Keiki Table will allow youngsters the opportunity to get their hands dirty, learning how plants grow.

The Kaua‘i Arbor Day Tree Giveaway is possible through the help of Kaulunani Urban and Community Forestry Program, coordinated by the Garden Island Resource Conservation and Development, the Kaua‘i Landscaping Industry Council, the National Tropical Botanical Garden, Kaua‘i Invasive Species Committee, the Kaua‘i Outdoor Circle, Kaua‘i Nursery and Landscaping, Alaka‘i Landscaping, the Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort and Spa, Garden Island Growers, No ka oi Landscaping, and the Kaua‘i Native Plant Society.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@


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