Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Foster Botanical Garden

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Here's a slideshow from the Foster Botanical Garden in downtown Honolulu. It's a large slideshow because the place kind of fascinated me. I was expecting to see (and photograph) a lot of flowers, but this botanical garden is focused more on trees. Enormous tropical trees, a grove of palm trees of all descriptions, and a whole section of commercial trees that produce products you vaguely knew came from plants, including black pepper and various other spices. I enjoyed visiting because almost everything was unfamiliar, but I later ran across a blog post by someone who enjoyed it for exactly the opposite reason: Having grown up in Jamaica, many of the plants here brought back childhood memories.

I already knew the garden had a baobab tree, and that was actually a big reason I decided to visit. It's possible I'd read The Little Prince one too many times as a kid, but I was absurdly pleased to see a real live baobab tree. Being in the middle of a stand of coffee trees was ok too. I posted a couple of Instagram photos from the coffee thicket so people back home in the rainy and coffee-mad Northwest could see what it's like, but I think that may have elicited more jealousy than curiosity.

There's also a strychnine tree, believe it or not, set well back from the path so visitors can't just walk up to it and give it a hug or lick it or something. It occurred to me that a botanical garden in Hawaii, featuring a bunch of toxic plants, and run by elderly volunteer ladies-who-lunch, would be the ideal setting for a series of cozy murder mystery novels. It's probably been done already. I haven't checked.

The garden does have a greenhouse with orchids and other smaller plants. I seem to have just missed the blooming of a giant corpse flower (so named because of its disgusting odor). This is probably just as well, as far as I'm concerned.

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