Beauty in the City
Foster Gardens, which sits right on the edge of downtown Honolulu, is a beautiful bontannical garden full of the most amazing trees. It is one of five botannical gardens owned by the City and County of Honolulu, and is definitely worth a visit.
If you call ahead, you can reserve a spot on the dialy 1:00 tours led by volunteer docents. Hearing the stories of the garden from them will really enhance your visit.
Dennis Kim, of Native Plants, arranged for our Rotary club to have an off-site visit to this incredible place, less than a mile from our usual meeting place on the 20th floor of The Plaza Club. Along with a wonderful continental breakfast, we received special tours from one of the botanists and the head of Foster Gardens.
A little bit of history from the C&C of Honolulu's website:
Foster Garden traces its beginning to 1853 when Queen Kalama leased a small area of land to William Hillebrand, a young German doctor. A botanist as well as a physician, he and his wife built a home in the upper terrace area of the present garden. The magnificent trees which now tower over this area were planted by him. After twenty years in Hawaii, he returned to Germany and produced the excellent botanic treatise, Flora of the Hawaiian Islands (1888).
The Hillebrand property was later sold to Thomas (Captain) and Mary Foster who added to it and continued to develop the garden. Upon Mrs. Foster's death in 1930, the 5.5 acre site was bequeathed to the City and County of Honolulu as a public garden. The Foster Botanical Garden opened to the public on November 30, 1931, with Dr. Harold Lyon as its first director. Over a span of 27 years, Dr. Lyon introduced 10,000 new kinds of trees and plants to Hawaii.