The Color Purple

Aloha ,

May and June are Purple months in the islands...I look forward to these months every year for many reasons, and one of them is most definitely the many shades of purple that dot the upcountry landscape.

The Jacaranda tree is not especially beautiful before it blooms, with only a few disc shaped pods hanging off the ends of the barren branches, shedding little twigs before the leaves open. Two Jacaranda trees at Hale Ho'okipa are displaying lavender color blossoms right now, with more opening daily.

The Lower Kula Highway is such an impressive and scenic drive with these blossoms showering the landscape. The bell shaped flowers flutter down in the trade winds, blanketing pasture land and road ways purple . The pesky silver oak tree also blooms this time of year. Orange blooms of this invasive tree make a nice contrast to all the shades of purple and blue.

Today I happened upon a Jacaranda in bloom with a large cactus flowering right next to it...The stretch of road that divides upper Kula from lower Kula is dotted with statuesque cacti. The cactus flowers will form an edible fruit we call Panini. It is covered in fine little spines that have to be removed before the fruit can be peeled. I have never attempted this job, but from what I hear it takes some heavy gloves to harvest the fruit and then many shakes in a paper bag to remove the spines. It is alot of tricky work for a not so impressive fruit.

Often, plein air artists of Maui can be seen along the roads and accross the pasture lands as well this time of year. Inspiration abounds with soft golden light at sunset. I hope to post some paintings by some of our artists soon.

Today the sky was such a brilliant blue, and the sun so bright... I really did need my sunglasses.

It was almost breathtaking. Every single day I am grateful for the place I call home, today I was in awe.

So, come to Maui, have one more month to witness the many Colors of Purple.
It will really put a smile on your face!

Aloha, hope to see you soon..........


Upcountry Maui Fun


My grandson, Aukai, is visiting from the Big Island and we are having a great weekend exploring Maui. I try to get out and about often, but there is nothing like having family and friends here to really get my Exploring Energy fired up.

I have been meaning to get up to check out the new (three years old now in the new location!) Thompson Ranch, for some horseback riding. Yesterday was a bit chilly with lots of cool mountain mist rolling down the slopes of Haleakala, so we bundled up for our ride. Aukai rode Rascal, he was the lead horse after our guide. I rode Commander. Commander was a beautiful painted female, and somehow, her name did not fit for me.

We tackled the mountain slope, quite a climb up to 5,000 ft. Andy Thompson was our guide, and she was a pleasure to spend time with. The ranch is 1,400 acres of sloping Haleakala flanks boarding on the PoliPoli forest. I love this area of Maui so much. The neighborhood drive up to the ranch is a delight in flowering hedges and old stone walls surrounding emerald green pastures.

After our ride we stopped by the Ali'i Kula Lavender farm.

This lovely 10 acres estate, offers a serene setting for drinking in the vistas while strolling through exciting and well cared for gardens. We wandered on the "Peaceful Path" sipping our delicious lavender tea. Actually, I wandered, lagging behind while my grandson made double time on the trails. This family farm is well run, and a special treat to visit, offering beneficial lavender products, creams and lotions and food products to purchase. Aukai picked out a couple of great gifts for his family.

Our day was great, topped off by a visit to the skate park in Wailuku and ono pizza at Flatbread in Paia.

Wow, some fun! and we are still going. We plan to go the Maui Arts and Cultural Center this evening for a fantastic Ukulele fest with the famed Jake!

Come visit Maui, and I will give you some great tips on special ways to spend your time.

Aloha for now, see you soon..


Ohi'a Lehua

Ohia Lehua - Metrosideros polymorpha
Aloha from sunny upcountry!

My favorite tree in Hawaii is the Ohi'a Lehua. It captivates me for many reasons besides it's beauty and strength.

The Ohi'a is extremely adaptable. It is the first woody plant to establish itself after a lava flow. It has a remarkable range of growth forms, from 1 ' tall to 100 feet tall. I was told that when it was first studied, it was believed to be a few different varieties of trees because of the varied forms it takes.

The beautiful blossom provides staple food for the rare Hawaiian Honeycreeper. The photos I am posting are the two trees at Hale Ho'okipa. The yellow blossomed tree is rare. I was gifted this tree many years ago, and am fortunate that it is growing so well. The honey bees love the blossoms, and organic lehua honey is divine! It is the best honey I have ever tasted.
Ohia Lehua - Metrosideros polymorpha - yellow flower

The tree has an important legend in Hawaiian folklore. Many hulas and chants tell of this love story.

Ohi'a was a young warrior who fell in love with the beautiful Lehua. This was a tragic love as Madame Pele also fell for the warrior, Ohi'a. Pele was angry when he shunned her, and she turned him into a tree with gray leaves and twisted branches. Lehua begged Pele to return him to his human form. She then pleaded with the gods to do the same, "no can". Instead the gods turned the young woman in the beautiful blossoms of the Ohi'a tree called Lehua blossoms so they could be together forever. The legend says that Pele will cause the rain to fall if the blossoms are picked.

The Ohi'a Lehua is the official tree of the Big Island.

So, here's to the honey bees and love stories. Happy Valentine!!