Workshop helps all to grow lei materials

PUHI — Madeline Guyat has a reason to celebrate lei.

“May 1 is not just May Day (is Lei Day),” said Guyat, a long-time award- winning lei maker who participates in the Kauai Museum annual lei contest. “It’s also my birthday.”

Guyat was among the battery of lei makers who were demonstrating the different types of lei available for people celebrating special occasions like Easter, during Saturday’s How to Grow Your Own Lei Garden presentation by the Hawaii Tropical Flowers and Foliage Association at the Kauai Community Market held at Kauai Community College.

She paused only briefly to secure a haku hairpiece atop a customer’s bun before going on to extend a ti leaf lei for a tall customer.

“It was real busy over there,” said Christina Gabriel, a perennial farmers market shopper and the general manager for the Marriott’s Waiohai Beach Club at the Charity Walk bowling tournament. “It must have been because of all the lei makers, and that cart full of plants from Leland Nishek and the Kauai Nursery and Landscaping. That was good for me because I had an easier time shopping.”

Gabriel said the Waiohai has its own “Lei Garden” among its collection of gardens scattered throughout its Poipu property, and Waiohai will be hosting its traditional May Day offering on May 1 coordinated by Troy Lazaro.

The presentation was geared toward people starting their own lei gardens at home to have a supply of lei material available for those occasions where lei is needed. Among the battery of lei demonstrators, Noelani and Paul Pomroy, children of Walter and Irmalee Pomroy, founders of the Kauai Museum lei contest, plied their trade of traditional lei and lei techniques.

“This is an offshoot from last week’s Garden Fair,” said Johnny Gordines of the Tropical Flower and Foliage Association. “There is no need to go out and beg material for lei when you can grow them. Leland did a great job of getting a good supply of lei plants here. Our next workshop, the Tropical Floral Workshop, will be at the Kauai Nursery and Landscaping meeting area on April 29.”

Running from noon until 2:30 p.m., the workshop, funded through a grant from the county’s Office of Economic Development, will feature new anthurium species introduced by Tessie Amore of the University of Hawaii, the use and care of orchids by Neill Sams of Orchid Alley, and the introduction and care for new tropical landscape and interior florals.

“You heard of landscaping,” Nishek said. “Now, it’s interiorscape.”

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