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Kula Botanical Gardens on Maui – Stretch Your Legs In a Refreshing Change of Scenery

Even on Maui, you may feel the need to do something besides lay on the beach or swim in the ocean.  Kula Botanical Gardens is up high on the side of Haleakala, the southern dormant volcano.  Just like the east side of the island, it is commonly under dense cloud cover, but that is partly what allows all the lovely flowers to thrive.  Besides, after cooling off in the gardens, it only takes a few minutes to drive to the beach and lay in the sun again! 🙂

The day we went to Kula, we were literally walking in the clouds.  It would have been better if we had brought a little warmer clothing, but the umbrellas that are available at the entrance kept us pretty dry.  It is true that it was harder to take photographs in the heavy mist.  The camera kept focusing on the water in the air!  Still, I think I have enough photos to give you a taste of the gardens:

(click on any photo to enlarge)

The entrance to Kula Botanical Gardens

The entrance to Kula Botanical Gardens

 

 

 

The obscure side road that leads to the entrance of the gardens does not give you any idea of how large the gardens are.

 

 

 

 

laminated map of Kula Gardens

laminated map of Kula Gardens

 

 

 

 

In the building, they have  maps available to borrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not all the plants had labels

Not all the plants had labels

 

 

 

 

Either not all the plants had labels, or they were covered by vigorous plants. Some we would recognize, but others remain a mystery…. like this pretty orangish red blossom.

 

 

 

 

pink lily

pink lily

 

 

 

 

From the moment we stepped out the back door of the building, there were flowers and plants everywhere to feast the eyes on.

 

 

 

 

bromeliads in contrast

bromeliads in contrast

 

 

 

 

Some of the foliage vied with the flowers for showing off color.

 

 

 

 

Pine tree flower

Pine tree flower

 

 

 

 

And certainly some of the flowers were hoping to be identififed as space aliens!

 

 

 

 

welcoming ferns

welcoming ferns

 

 

 

 

The common plants were blended with the exotic ones in ways that made me softly sigh.

 

 

 

funny or somber?

funny or somber?

 

 

 

While this wooden statue made me wonder what the designer had in mind.

 

 

 

 

Canna lilies on the side of the path

Canna lilies on the side of the path

 

 

 

Each bend in the path was like a new enchanted land.

 

 

 

 

 

gazanias, African daisy, and canna lilies

gazanias, African daisy, and canna lilies

 

 

 

You can study the individual plants or just take in the whole scene.

 

 

 

 

 

simple, yet amazingly unique purple flower

simple, yet amazingly unique purple flower

 

 

 

This purple flower seems to have such “standard” rounded petals, but in the center it has fun variations.

 

 

 

 

The sign clearly said it was a Hala Pepe, from Hawaii

The sign clearly said it was a Hala Pepe, from Hawaii

 

 

 

Another arrangement of foliage to highlight the Hala Pepe of Hawaii.

 

 

 

 

 

a covered bridge

a covered bridge

 

 

 

I suppose we could have all run under cover here, if we really needed to, but since there was no sign of the rain stopping, we just kept exploring.

 

 

 

 

gargantuan house plants

gargantuan house plants

 

 

 

Just like when I visited gardens in Taipei, it was slightly discouraging to see examples of plants that I try to grow as house plants.

 

 

 

 

Every garden must have it's stream.

Every garden must have it’s stream.

 

 

 

But, I think, that even here, they must pipe the water if they want the stream to follow an exact route.

 

 

 

 

 

gracefully branching tree

gracefully branching tree

 

 

 

 

There were trees to dwarf us –

 

 

 

 

 

 

mangos?

mangos?

 

 

And fruit to make us wish for lunch.

 

 

 

 

That's a big basin!

That’s a big basin!

 

 

 

 

Maybe it was being on the side of a volcano and having watched too many movies, but this conjured visions of appeasing the god of the volcano… wonder if everyone who enters the garden, leaves….

 

 

 

 

 

grand hillside

grand hillside

 

 

 

 

There were hillsides displaying magnificent arrangements.

 

 

 

 

Banksia prionotes from Australia

Banksia prionotes from Australia

 

 

 

 

As well as flowers that challenged my definition of “flower.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

protea flower

protea flower

 

 

 

It really takes seeing a protea flower in person to fully appreciate it.

 

 

 

 

 

another protea

another protea

 

 

 

 

But here’s another photo of one anyway.

 

 

 

 

 

blue hydangea

blue hydangea

 

 

 

The hydrangea managed to look festive in spite of being drenched, which is good, because there was a wedding going on while we were there. Regular visitors may still wander if there is a special event.

 

 

 

 

a wall of Thunbergia

a wall of Thunbergia

 

 

These grow as delicate, tendrils of vines in my garden, but it looks like they could take over the world given the correct conditions.

 

 

 

more of a wild flower look

more of a wild flower look

 

 

 

Here are more flowers giving brightness to the path in spite of the clouds are denying us sunlight.

 

 

 

 

a gazebo overlooking duck ponds in the gulch

a gazebo overlooking duck ponds in the gulch

 

 

 

I think there must be some sort of agreement among world wide botanical gardens to have a gazebo. Is that where the secret messages are passed on?

 

 

 

 

orange multi flowered lily blossom

orange multi flowered lily blossom

 

 

 

I don’t recall seeing lily flowers quite like this –

 

 

 

 

 

pink and pinker

pink and pinker

 

 

 

We saw this plant when we visited Official Residence Gardens in Taipei. If anyone ever complains about your combinations of pink in your outfit, show them a picture of this!

 

 

 

 

 

 

white orchid with pinkish purple center

white orchid with pinkish purple center

 

 

They had a nice variety of orchids, somewhat protected, but I saw so many orchids in Taiwan, that it wasn’t the highlight of this garden for me.

 

 

 

probably a Eucalyptus tree, judging from the aroma

probably a Eucalyptus tree, judging from the aroma

 

 

 

 

I have made Greg hunting clothes out of fabric with this pattern and color! Camouflage for the critters?  There was another tree where the pattern was more distinctly stripped.

 

 

 

 

 

 

muddy path required careful attention

muddy path required careful attention

 

 

 

This path seemed to be trying to turn into a waterfall, but it was the wildest looking side path in the garden, so Greg wanted to follow it…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

secluded glen in Kula Botanical Gardens

secluded glen in Kula Botanical Gardens

 

 

 

The semi-treacherous path took us down to a hidden pond.

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Seuss tree

Dr. Seuss tree

 

 

 

This little tree made me think of Dr. Seuss stories.

 

 

 

 

 

algae covered pond

algae covered pond

 

 

 

It took me a few moments to realize that this was water. It didn’t even look like mud, but rather very flat dirt. Good thing I was sticking to the path!

 

 

 

 

ruffled leaf succulent?

ruffled leaf succulent?

 

 

 

 

It’s funny how some things just make you look at them. Maybe we were wondering if we really saw what we thought we saw –

 

 

 

 

one last misty view

one last misty view

 

 

 

That is just a smattering of what we saw in the gardens.  It’s the third time I have been, and I enjoy it every time.  You can often find coupons in the travel brochures at the airport, that give you a dollar or two off of the price of the entrance.  If you like gardens at all, rain or shine, this should add a special touch to your time on Maui.

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