Yellow flowers in Hawaii

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Yellow flowers represent friendship and happiness. In contrast to the deep blues and greens of Hawaii, the yellow flowers easily catch your attention and make you want to stop and admire them. The first four are yellow flowers in Maui. The fifth photo is one of my favorite yellow flowers we saw in Lanai: the popcorn orchid.IMG_6559

Twin Falls on Maui’s Road to Hana

If you take Maui’s famous road to Hana in a clockwise direction, one of the first stops you could make is at Twin Falls. Here, you’ll find hiking in the rainforest, swimming if you choose and a fruit stand. Look for the parked cars a little past the 2-mile marker.

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The road to Hana is known for its waterfalls and you will find six or so at the Twin Falls location. No, they are not the most magnificent waterfalls on Maui, but the hike to get there is worthwhile.

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A well-maintained path is about a mile and a half round-trip and you’ll see plenty of tropical flowers and jungle-like plants.

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Since it’s the first stop on the right after the historic town of Paia, most people visit Twin Falls in the morning. We visited in afternoon and found the trees, flowers and wild vegetation as interesting as the falls.

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If you looked and listened closely, you could almost see and hear the plants growing by the minute.

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Wanted: trade winds and a cool breeze

Make your own bouquet of tropical flowers

Make your own bouquet of tropical flowers

Always a great selection of island fruits and vegetables

Always a great selection of island fruits and vegetables

Colorful flowers always seem to be plentiful in Kona

Colorful flowers always seem to be plentiful in Kona

In the Midwest, land of temperature extremes, we are dealing with record-breaking heat and humidity this week. Yesterday, the relative humidity hit 79 percent, which we were told made the temperature outside feel like 108 to 111 degrees. As the saying goes: It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.

This dry and hot late August weather wreaks havoc on the flowers, trees, vegetable gardens and lawns unless they are watered regularly. Although it’s steamy hot, we desperately need rain. Most of the blooming flowers look exhausted and ready to be replaced with mums or other autumn plants and flowers once the heat subsides.

Yes, we have color everywhere and the farmers’ markets in our region are bursting with vegetables, herbs and plenty from the harvest season. It’s here, and then—poof. It’s gone. So, we enjoy it.

Hawaii residents and visitors are so fortunate to experience color, flowers, nearly perfect weather year-round.  I’ll take the high temperatures any day over the cold and snow of January, February, March and sometimes even April. (Yes, it sometimes snows in April, the cruelest month.) One weather newscaster told us yesterday that the temperature was 140 degrees warmer than our coldest day last winter. Yet, today I dream of the next visit to Hawaii. This time it’s to cool off from the heat.

Kona Farmers Market

Kona Farmers Market

Hawaiian yellow hibiscus

IMG_2586Hawaii’s state flower is the yellow hibiscus. The large flowers are four to six inches in diameter and often have a maroon-colored center. The flowers seem to open and close at certain times each day. Bright, cheery and oh so photogenic, it’s worth taking a moment to stop and smell the flowers when you stumble upon yellow hibiscus in Hawaii.

Orchid memories

IMG_6110It’s May 1 and we are once again bracing for a winter snow, sleet and slush storm. Yes, another winter storm in spring.

The forecast is for six to nine inches of snow. Yes, it’s May 1 and the tulips and daffodils in the Upper Midwest were just starting to make an appearance. Poor things. So, instead of snow, I’ll dream of orchids.

These photos are from March at the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden. The Garden has a fantastic collection of orchids.

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To see orchids in a natural garden setting instead of potted is a thing of beauty—something to hold onto until spring decides to arrive.

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Blooming bougainvillea

IMG_0217Bright purple, red, white, orange and pink, the bougainvillea colors in Hawaii are unforgettable. They border the highways and add bursts of color to yards, public spaces, beaches and rugged terrain.
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They even seem to thrive in fields of lava, which gives a colorful contrast with the black rock and other tropical plants and trees. With deep green leaves, the bracts (the leaf-like structures just below the flower) offer the bursts of color. If you look closely, you will see a tiny white flower inside.

 

They are most impressive in mass plantings, hedges or barriers and seem to flower the most from September through late spring. Some years we have noticed that they seem to be more vibrant than other years, most likely depending on rainfall as they thrive in slightly dry conditions.

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For scent, plumeria is one of my favorite flowers in Hawaii, but when it comes to bursts of beautiful color, bougainvillea never disappoints.