My goodness - it has been over a month since we returned from Hawaii. It seems like ages ago. I looked back over my posts and realized that I did not blog about several other places that we visited near the end of our stay. I'm going to correct that now.
One thing we learned quickly is how diverse are the the micro-climates on Oahu. We stayed in one of the rainy spots on the windward side. Our studio was on the slopes of the Koloa mountains that run along the spine of Oahu. Located in the Waiahole Forest Reserve, we had wonderful green mountain views. We also love dry desert areas so we were attracted to Koko Botanical Garden near the southern tip of Oahu. We had read a couple of reviews saying it wasn't worth the time - but in our books - it was great. If you are a plant lover or hiker, we would definitely recommend this garden. I
We also wanted to check out a local plant nursery. We had seen a sign for Glenn's Flowers and Nursery in Waimanalo on our first day when we drove around the southern tip. We decided to make a stop on the way to Koko Crater. It is a wonderful nursery. We really loved the Jade Vine display in the nursery. The Jade Vine was in bloom. They also had a great selection of seasonal poinsettas and other tropical plants. We talked to one of the nursery staff and she had a son who lived near Seattle so it was nice to chat and make a connection. There was so much we wanted to buy but knew we could not take any plants home.
It was a short drive from Waimanalo to Koko Botanical Garden. The garden encompass 60 acres in Koko Crater and was started in 1958 to take advantage of the desert-like conditions. There are groves of plumarias, cactus, and plants from dry land areas around the world. It is arranged in regional areas starting with groves of plumeria and bougainvillea from Mexico and South America. The 2.5 mile loop train circles through different plant regions. The Americas have stunning displays of cactus. The trail continues forests of native Hawaiian trees including the Wili Wili (Erythrina sandwicensis) which was not in bloom. Our favorite area was the Madagascar area. We loved the specimen plants of Pachypodium which were in bloom. It was also amazing to see swaths of Sansevierias (mother-in-law tongue) plants.
The walk is easy. It can be very hot with little shade so definitely take water. Early in the day it would be a great place for a trail run.
We spent about 2 hours exploring. We headed back towards Honolulu and stopped again at Kona Brewery for a beer before heading back over Pali highway.