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5 Remarkable Gardens in Hawaii You Need to See to Appreciate

Looking for garden inspiration or just a time out to breathe among the plants?

Hawaii is full of unique and breathtaking gardens, and many of them are just a quick drive away. These 5 gardens were chosen based on their beauty, uniqueness and high ratings from Yelp and Travelocity users. Enjoy!

Oahu

Ho’omaluhia Gardens

45-680 Luluku Road, Kane’ohe, HI 96744 (808) 233-7323

Ho’omaluhia lives up to its Hawaiian name: “a peaceful refuge.” These gorgeous 400-acre gardens are tucked away on Oahu’s Windward site at the base of the stunning Ko’olau Mountains.

The highlight of Ho’omaluhia is on Polynesian plant and palm varieties. Botanical collections are grouped into geographic regions: Philippines, Malaysia, Tropical America, India & Sri Lanka, Melanesia, Hawaii, Polynesia and Africa.

There’s more: you can also go fishing, camping, hiking and bicycling here.

Lyon Arboretum

3860 Manoa Rd, Honolulu, HI 96822 (808) 988-0456

Manoa Valley is known for being one the most lush and peaceful valleys in Honolulu. At the back of the valley, where it rains about 165 inches a year, sits the Lyon Arboretum, named after Hawaiian ethnobotanist and conservationist Harold L. Lyon.

Over 5,000 tropical and native Hawaiian plant species thrive on these 200 acres, which also serves as a research station and academic resources for nearby University of Hawaii.

You can visit 12 distinct gardens, including an herb and spice garden, one of the world’s greatest palm collections and the cash crop plants and trees of the “Economic Section. ” Ever smell a cinnamon tree?

Kauai

Limahuli

5-8291 Kuhio Hwy. Haena, HI 96714 (808) 826-1053

Looking at Limahuli on Kauai’s North Shore is a bit like looking at the famous Machu Picchu in Peru: rock-wall terraces cascade downslope in a beautiful and ancient display of sustainable resource management.

Limahuli is a well-preserved remnant of the masterful ahapua’a system of old Hawaii, which brought stewardship and organized food systems to each portion of the island from mountains to ocean.

The lava-rock terraces were for growing taro (lo‘i kalo) and were erected 700-1,000 years ago. Today you can view the taro along with an impressive collection of native Hawaiian plants focused on species from northwestern Kauai.

Big Island

Galaxy Garden

83-5401 Painted Church Rd, Captain Cook, HI 96704 (808) 328-8084

You will not find anything like the Galaxy Garden in the world: it’s a 100-foot diameter outdoor scale model of the Milky Way, mapped in living plants and flowers and based on current astrophysical data.

Plants based on their aesthetic and arrangement are chosen to depict stars, globular clusters even nebulas. The bright stars you see in Earth’s night sky are represented on leaves surrounding the marked location of the Sun. Rows of plants represent arms of our Galaxy, and a small bar runs through our Galaxy’s center, where a fountain has been built to represent the central black hole.

The garden was conceived by space artist Jon Lomberg, who is well-known for his work on Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos.”

Mala`ai: The Culinary Garden of Waimea Middle School

67-1229 Mamalahoa Hwy, Waimea, HI 96743 (808) 887-6090

The farm to table movement is growing in Hawaii, and the Mala’ai student food garden on the Big Island is leading the charge for young people. This near-acre organic oasis on the grounds of Waimea Middle School teaches students to “cultivate the relationship between students and the land through growing and sharing nourishing food in our outdoor living classroom.”

The garden supports student learning by integrating core curriculum – language arts, science, social studies, health and math – as well as cultural learning and healthy life skills. Pa’ahana (hard industrious work) and ma ka hana ka ike (by doing one learns) are two of the guiding principles in garden class.

Of course, the food from Mala’ai is out of this world:

Photo credits: NASA, tinyfroglet, Mala’ai, danramarch, Amber and Brandon

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