Growing Wild

Holiday in Hawaii #20

When we travel, I like to buy charms for my charm bracelet – it’s a simple way to remember the wonderful places we’ve been to. In Hawaii I found the perfect bead. Its circlet of flowers was reminiscent of a beautiful lei, made of the flowers of the frangipani tree. When I told the shop assistant I love frangipanis, she corrected me. “These are plumeria,” she said. I was confused – I’d always thought leis were made from frangipani flowers.

Later, as we walked through the mall, I pointed to a frangipani tree in the garden and asked Marsha what it was called. “Plumeria,” she said. Mystery solved! Plumeria = frangipani; the same flower with two names.

The scientific name Plumeria honours the 17th century botanist Charles Plumier, who studied the plant species of the New World, while the common name Frangipani refers to a 16th century Italian who invented a plumeria-scented perfume.

We saw frangipanis blooming everywhere in Hawaii: in the gardens of historic missionary homes, between the headstones in churchyards, and adorning the monuments at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.




And I have a frangipani lei on my bracelet!

See more beautiful wildflowers at Jude’s Garden Photography Challenge

A Day at Pearl Harbour

Holiday in Hawaii #19

On a sunny day the vast expanse of blue water that is Pearl Harbour is calm and peaceful. This tranquil scene belies the harbour’s history as the site of the air attack in the Pacific that brought the United States of America into World War II. Early on 7th December 1941, hundreds of fighter planes from the Japanese Imperial Navy attacked the US Pacific Fleet stationed on Oahu, killing 2390 and sinking or damaging 21 ships.



There are several historic sites at Pearl Harbour, including the USS Arizona Memorial, the Battleship Missouri Memorial and the USS Bowfin Submarine. It’s free to visit the USS Arizona Memorial and accompanying exhibitions, but the queue begins long before opening time and it’s first in first served. In order to avoid the long queue, we pre-purchase a guaranteed entry ticket.


We watch a short documentary movie about the history of Pearl Harbour before boarding a shuttle boat for a ride across the harbour to the memorial. Even though there are many people at the memorial, the atmosphere is quiet and reflective.


The feeling of respectful contemplation continues on the USS Bowfin Submarine. We buy tickets for a self-guided walk which goes the full length of the inside of the  WW2 submarine through the engine room, torpedo room and sleeping quarters. After looking at the cramped conditions inside,  I decide that submariner is not my dream job!




To visit the Battleship Missouri, we travel on a shuttle bus from the Visitor Centre to Ford Island. Before exploring above and below decks by ourselves, we join a guided tour of the top deck, three football fields long. The documents that ended the war in the Pacific on 2nd September, 1945 were signed on the Missouri.



We arrived at opening time and we stay all day; the gates close behind us as we leave. It’s been a day of listening, learning and paying our respects – a day well spent.


A Science Lesson with a Difference

Holiday in Hawaii #18

The Richard T. Mamiya Science Adventure Centre at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu is aptly named. Interactive exhibits take visitors on an adventurous exploration of the Hawaiian Islands, from their violent volcanic origins to the ongoing sculpting of the coastline by the Pacific Ocean.

A lesson in Earth Sciences begins with a walk through the Origins of Hawaii tunnels. Melodious Hawaiian chants complement fluorescent art works created by local school children, and Hawaiian legends tell creation stories of the flora and fauna of Hawaii.



How movement beneath the Earth’s crust creates change on the surface is demonstrated at the earthquake pool, where manipulating rocks causes mini tsunamis to ripple across the water.


Molten lava rises up through a lava tube to bubble and pop in the steaming crater of a model volcano.





All these processes have created the sand that lines the beautiful beaches of Hawaii. Who would have thought there could be so many different types?


Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Earth

Telling Stories, One Stitch at a Time

Holiday in Hawaii #17

As a quilt maker, I’m always on the lookout for quilt shops and quilt shows when we travel. In Hawaii, I was lucky to see many beautiful quilts, both old and new.

Missionaries in the early 1800s taught the skills of quilting and patchwork to native Hawaiian women and, along with the geometric designs of traditional patchwork, they incorporated Hawaiian designs and symbols in their work to create a new style – the Hawaiian quilt.

Three antique quilts are displayed at the Baldwin House in Lahaina, Maui. Two of the quilts feature geometric designs and simple hand quilting, while the third quilt is Hawaiian and depicts sea animals surrounded by intricate echo quilting.

Also on Maui, at the Hula Grill in Lahaina, is this striking quilt. The floral design celebrates Hawaii’s beautiful tropical gardens.


This flag quilt hangs in the Hawaiian Hall at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. Dating from the end of the 19th century, it is thought to be a wedding quilt gifted to Marie Ford by Queen Lili’uokalani. The flags placed upside down are believed to show the Queen’s distress at her removal from the throne after the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands by the United States of America in 1895.


I found more quilted treasures at Iolani Palace, official residence of the last Hawaiian Kings and Queens. While Queen Lili’uokalani was imprisoned in the palace after being dethroned, she created this quilt in the crazy patch style popular at the time. The “Queen’s Quilt” is 97 x 92 inches and is composed of nine large blocks; tiny scraps of fabric are pieced together and embellished with embroidered stitches and inscriptions. This precious quilt, fragile and time worn, is displayed in a large glass cabinet.



Two modern quilts, featuring beautiful appliqued designs, are displayed more openly on beds in the private suites of the Royal family.



The tradition of Hawaiian quilting flourishes today, and there are shops devoted to beautiful hand worked pieces made by talented Hawaiian women.



Their prices are indicative of the hundreds of hours of work that go into each work of art. This stunning king size quilt was for sale for US $3000.


I spent some time admiring this beautiful quilt but I didn’t buy it. Instead I purchased an instruction book for $15 so I can make my own!

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Admiration

Mānoa Falls

Holiday in Hawaii #16

If you love seeing waterfalls at the end of easy walking tracks, Mānoa Falls is the place for you.


Located in the Mānoa Valley, the 2.6 kilometre trail is well maintained with a small incline, until the last hundred metres where it becomes rocky and steeper.




The trail winds through thick vegetation – lush rainforest, tall stands of bamboo and beautiful tropical flowers thrive in the damp conditions. This part of Oahu receives plenty of rain, and the insects love it as much as the plants. Remember to bring your insect repellent!



The last short climb over a tumble of boulders to reach Mānoa Falls is worth the extra effort. The water of Waihi Stream drops 46 metres from the top of the sheer cliff to the small pool at its base, before rushing away downhill to the coast.


If you’re thinking the Mānoa Valley looks familiar, you’re not mistaken. Parts of the movie “Jurassic Park” and the TV series “Lost” were filmed here.


Luckily it’s almost impossible to get lost on this relaxing walking trail. Just make sure you stay on the path!


See more close up garden photos with Jude and some other lovely walks with Jo.

Up, Down and Round About

Holiday in Hawaii #15

While the journey to the North Shore is one of the most popular in Oahu, Tantalus Drive, which climbs into the mountains, reveals some more spectacular views of the island. The road begins in the suburbs in the foothills of the Ko’olau Range.


It’s only 14.5 km, but the road is winding and steep in places, with hairpin bends and one lane bridges to negotiate.



There are many places along the road where cars can pull over. Glimpses of the city are revealed between gaps in the trees, and the Pacific Ocean shimmers to the horizon.


Wildflowers bloom on the roadside and walking tracks disappear into the rainforest on the slopes of Mount Tantalus, a volcanic cinder cone 613 metres high.


The road is not just popular with drivers. Cyclists take on the challenge of riding up the mountain while skateboarders choose the other direction, hurtling down the road and round the bends at breakneck speeds.

Where Tantalus Drive ends, Round Top Drive begins. It leads to Tantalus Lookout at Pu’u Ualaka’a State Park; at an elevation of 319 metres, the view extends from Diamond Head and Koko Crater in the south to Waikiki and Pearl Harbour in the north.


Tantalus Lookout is the perfect vantage point to watch the setting sun – the glow of evening is reflected in the calm waters of the Pacific Ocean. The drive up, down and round about the mountain is worth the effort to see this view at the end of the day.


Dressed to Impress


Holiday in Hawaii #14

The World of WearableArt Awards is a design competition held in Wellington, New Zealand every September. It attracts hundreds of entries from around the world, all competing for a share of $165 000 in prize money and mentorships with renowned design companies.

We saw some of the winners from past years at a travelling exhibition at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu;  weird and wonderful garments constructed from textiles, jewellery, found objects and other unusual media in a futuristic display of creativity and innovation.

My favourite was this delicate gown, fashioned from wafer thin layers of wood.


Are these the clothes of the future?

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Future