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Hawaii Gardener Blog

Hawaii Gardener is at Kickstarter

by Rachel Leyva on 01/27/13

Aloha Gardeners!

I recently submitted a project to - Making Compost & Compost Tea.  This is an effort to secure funding to write, print, distribute and advertise my book(s). 

Thus far I've written in starts and fits and whenever time and monies allowed but decided I needed help to get the next book in my series completed in a more timely manner.

I hope that you will check out my project at Kickstarter and think it worthwhile to back.  Pledging is easy and starts at $1.00 going up to $70.00.  A pledge of $25.00 or more will get you into the book's 'Mahalo' page and your choice of any of my books.   Any amount will be helpful and go toward fulfilling my goal amount.  If I don't reach my goal I don't get one penny.  It's all or nothing!

Get the whole scoop and become a backer so I can continue bringing books, information and pictures about gardening to the world.

Rachel Leyva
the Hawaii Gardener


Odontoglossums Blooming in the Trees

by Rachel Leyva on 11/30/12

Aloha Gardeners,

I was taking my morning stroll through the garden and found this beauty blooming. 

Isn't she pretty?

Then a few steps away I found this one, too. 

Both are growing on ti plants along my driveway.

Learn how to mount orchids on your trees when you buy our book Growing Orchids.

Hawaii Island Farmers Markets

by Rachel Leyva on 10/31/12

Aloha Gardeners,

I wanted to let you know that we've revamped our Hawaii Farmers Markets page.  We have dedicated an individual page to each of the 6 markets profiled so far.  More are on the way!  You can look forward to LOTS OF PHOTOS of vendor products.  Links or other contact info for many vendors is available in case you have questions or want to learn more about what they do. 

Look for the Kohala Center's EBT poster on participating market pages.  You can click the poster to find out how to use your EBT card at the markets.

Support Hawaii agriculture and the entrepreneurs who make our farmers markets so great!

Aloha until next time,


More vireya grown from seed and growing on trees.

by Rachel Leyva on 10/12/12

Aloha Gardeners,

I had a couple of beauties blooming this week that I wanted to share with you.

I spotted this lovely flower poking out from behind a cluster of vireya seedlings growing at the base of a palm along my driveway.  She has enchanted me like a garden fairy. 

The second is a seedling who has bloomed before but was really a sight to see this time.  Unfortunately rainy weather kept me from photographing all the trusses open at once.  However, I climbed a ladder to make sure that I would get a good photo of the last open trusses before it finished.  In the full photo you can see that the plant is growing in a mass of moss on the side of the tree about 10-12 feet above the ground.  It is a very pretty lemon yellow with bright clear color.

The flowers up close.....

And, the plant attached to the tree.

Way cool!

I wonder what's blooming today?

Aloha until next time,


Blooming Stanhopea in the Garden

by Rachel Leyva on 10/02/12

Aloha Gardeners,

More pretty flowers to share with you...

We have a Stanhopea orchid growing on the side of one of our palm trees which has been blooming its head off this year.  Right now it has 3 sprays blooming sequentially.  A strong chocolate peppermint fragrance spills from the open flowers and drifts across the garden.

Below you can see the sprays almost ready to bloom and then fully open.

In Bud...

and blooming!

These amazing flowers have a very short bloom time so you have to be quick if you want to see them.  Usually it's the strong fragrance that draws you in as you walk past.

Most people grow them in hanging baskets as the flowers are pendulous but as you can see they grow beautifully on trees, too.

Check out our book Growing Orchids for tips on mounting orchids in trees and on slabs.

Until next time.....


Growing Vireya From Seed

by Rachel Leyva on 09/25/12

Aloha Gardeners,

All of our vireya seedlings are open pollinated which just means that Mother Nature did her thing and we have not interrupted.  Many seeds have landed on our palm trees and germinated there.  See the image of seedlings below.


We recently had a truly spectacular golden yellow seedling bloom with two trusses side by side making it absolutely breathtaking.  What do you think?  The plant sprouted about a foot above the palm root line and has grown to approximately seven or eight feet tall.  This was its first bloom.  The color is to die for!  Just like Inca gold.

Next photo is of a really vigorous seedling grown up from the base of a palm tree.  We didn't pinch this one at all and it branched nicely all on its own.  Many nice full trusses of butter colored blooms.  A good solid plant and very showy.

It's been a lot of fun waiting and watching these lovely flowers find their way around our garden.  Of the thousands of seedlings that germinate only a small percentage will live to bloom and grow.  They have to be the tough ones because they get no help from me.  No water when it's dry and no food.  They are the survivors and what beautiful survivors they are.

Check out our book Vireya Rhododendron to find out more about how we grow these wonderful flowers.

Happy Gardening!

Welcome to the FOD - Flower of the Day

by Rachel Leyva on 09/12/12

  Hello Gardeners,

I thought I'd introduce you to FOD.  My kids sometimes bring me a flower from the garden.  They place the flower in one of the many blue glass bottles that I collect.  They'll leave it in the kitchen or on my desk to cheer me.  We affectionately call them FOD or Flower of the Day.  I recently had this open pollinated vireya bloom in my driveway.  I didn't have the heart to cut this beautiful flower and preferred to watch it on the plant.  Besides, this truss is quite large.  I'll need to find a smaller FOD.  We'll see what tomorrow blooms.  Aloha!

Aloha Gardeners!

by Rachel Leyva on 08/30/12

Welcome to the Hawaii-Gardener blog. 

This is an exciting addition to our website and we're looking forward to your feedback and questions.

If you're not familiar with then we hope that you will stop by to see our HG Store wherein we sell totally unique how-to gardening books.  Books written by us - for you and based on our own experiences gardening in Hawaii.  Practical, hands-on information for gardeners who are serious about making their plants grow and flourish.  The books are sized for maximum picture enjoyment, 8.5" x 11".  Full color.  Over 80 color photos each!  In addition there are plant source lists and club info. 

While you're there, check out our Hawaii Island Farmers Markets page for great places to shop for plants and locally grown produce, see pictures from all around Hawaii Island on our Pictures of Hawaii page.  Check the calendar of events on our Garden Clubs page and visit the folks who are in our HG Marketplace.  So much to see!

But wait, there's more.  Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter and get a chance to win FREE Prizes.

Happy Gardening Everyone,

Mahalo & Best Wishes,
Rachel Leyva,
the Hawaii-Gardener