Some people dream in color. Kenji Kuroshima is one of those people. In his daily life, Kenji is a photographer with a deep and abiding love for hula.
Kenji at the annual Kamehameha Day Festival on Mokuola in Hilo
He and his wife host many guests, particularly from Japan, and provide guide services to Hawai`i Island locations. Kenji and Michelle are tea practitioners and are deeply involved with Urasenke of Hilo at Shoroan, the tea house in Lili`uokalani Gardens.
Kenji gave a tour of photo locations in Lili`uokalani Gardens for the annual Banyan Drive Art Stroll
Kenji’s “Walking with Poliahu,” a photo of Waihonu reflections with snow-capped Mauna Kea in the background, was selected for inclusion in the 2019 calendar of Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens
Kenji also is a member of the Board of Directors of Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens. His ideas have guided several events and activities.
It was Kenji’s idea to fly koinobori for Children’s Day, for example. That idea grew this year to include all of Banyan Drive from Suisan Fish Market to Seaside Hotel with the most impressive display on the bridge from Kainehe to Mokuola. This year, Hawaiian fish were included with the Japanese carp windsocks.
Koinobori (carp windsocks) fly from late April to Children’s Day in early May
His guidance for proper maintenance is essential to the restoration of the bamboo thicket. The next volunteer day is Saturday, August 24. Please meet at the bamboo thicket at 8 a.m. and wear closed toe shoes and eye protection. Bring your own gloves. Other tools will be provided.
If you have a home project requiring bamboo poles, you may stop by Banyan Drive starting at 9 a.m. Bring your own saw to cut the poles to size.
Kenji is our bamboo maven who guides the volunteer days in the bamboo thicket, resulting in a healthy patch that sings
Through a series of wonderful coincidences, this book came to my attention while traveling in and around London in May. When I got on the plane to come home, I took it out of my backpack. By the time I got to Chicago, I’d read 170 pages. It’s a real page-turner, as they say.
The guide on our 18-person Back Roads Tour came to realize just how obsessed I am with Japanese gardens. Some of her dear friends in Kent happened to live in the cottage on Ingram’s estate so she had the driver pull a 10 minute detour to Benenden so we could go past “Cherry” Ingram’s home. She couldn’t reach her friends so we didn’t get to stop, but later in the gift shop at Wisley RBG, Harriet came up to me with this book and insisted I buy it.
The author Naoko Abe wrote it in Japanese. In 2016, “her biography of Collingwood Ingram won the prestigious Nihon Essayist Club Award” (from the book cover). Recently she rewrote the book in English with additional material.
When I got to Denver Botanic Gardens in early June, I wandered through the Japanese garden with Ebi Kondo. We got to talking about cherry trees and I asked, “Have you ever heard of Cherry Ingram?” He replied “I’m reading that book right now.”
U.S. book cover and title
The book solved one mystery Friends of Lil`u okalani Gardens: the origin of “Okame.” Three years before our centennial began, we experimented with “Pink Cloud” and “Okame” here on Hawaii Island. Bare root plants were obtained from L.E. Cooke Nursery in Southern California, which ceased shipping bare root cherry trees two years ago. A few of the imported trees remain potted in Hilo at Mountain Meadows Nursery in Pana`ewa.
Everyone knew that Pink Cloud had been hybridized at the Huntington, but nobody knew the back story on Okame.
hybridized at The Huntington more than 40 years ago, Pink Cloud was one variety tested by Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens
from page 159-160:
“In the early 1940s, forsaking Sargent cherry, Ingram decided to cross-pollinate two other wild species: Taiwan (Kanhi-zakura) and Fuji (Mame-zakura). Taiwan cherries thrived in the tropical climate of Japan’s southern islands of Okinawa. Meanwhile, the hardy white-blossomed Fuji bloomed about 1,000 miles to the north, around the mountain for which it was named. To make the task more difficult, Taiwan cherries bloomed in February and Fuji in April. Ingraham hoped to create a small but sturdy new flower, with deep-pink blossoms, out of the two distant and distinct species.
“The only problem was that he didn’t have any Taiwan cherries at the time. One place that did was the Temperate House at Kew Gardens. So there, late one February, Ingram shook the pollen from the Taiwan cherry’s ripe anthers onto tissue paper, folded them carefully and placed them in a Thermos flask with a pinch of calcium chloride at the bottom to absorb any humidity. By keeping the pollen dry and stored at an even temperature, he was able to preserve it for nine weeks until the late-flowering Fuji was ready to be fertilised. At last, Taiwan and Fuji produced a beautiful offspring.
“Ingram named his creation Okame, after a Japanese goddess of good fortune and mirth. Its flowers bloomed each March, at the midpoint between the blossoming of the Taiwan and Fuji cherries. Each tree was bedecked in countless little petals, like stars in the night sky. Each bloom was tiny and delicate, taking after the maternal Fuji cherry. But each was also tinted a light pink by the mix of the two parents’ shades. Better still, the sepals that supported the petals were a deep vibrant pink. Ingram said the flower would ‘be appreciated by all who have an eye for elegance of form and unpretentious beauty.’ He was ecstatic. ‘The offspring of this union has more than fulfilled my expectations,’ he wrote.”
Okame image from Naoko Abe’s biography of Collingwood Ingram
Okame image from Naoko Abe’s biography of Collingwood Ingram
Much more than solving our little plant origin mystery, this book delights with stories interconnecting some of the greats in the annals of garden history: Maryanne North, Vita Sackville West, Charles Sprague Sargent of the Arnold Arboretum, Roland Jefferson of the U.S. National Arboretum, Seisaku Funatsu, Masuhiko Kayama, and many more.
The main story is of Cherry Ingram’s collection of cherries from Japan and throughout England, preserving varieties that would go extinct in Japan. He returned Taihaku (also known as Akatsuki), presumed extinct in Japan, to the 16th Toemon Sano in 1932.
Here is a link to a more polished review of “The Sakura Obsession” as the biography is titled in the United States.
The next volunteer opportunity in Lili`uokalani Gardens will be thinning the bamboo patch on Saturday, August 24, from 8 a.m. to noon. The following article is reproduced from the July newsletter of Blue Zones Hawaii.
Why Volunteering is One of the Most Powerful Things You Can Do for Your Health
By Elisabeth Almekinder, RN, BA, CDE, Health Journalist, Registered Nurse, and Diabetes Educator for the Manos Unidas North Carolina Farmworker Health Program
One of the first pieces of advice that Dan Buettner, the founder of Blue Zones, always gives as a way to improve your life, health, and happiness is to sign up to volunteer in your community. It’s a long-term investment in your health and in your city if you sign up to do it regularly, and you’ll meet like-minded people along the way. In Blue Zones Project communities, we use this principle by highlighting local volunteer opportunities and creating opportunities for groups to volunteer together (coworkers, congregation members, students, neighbors). It turns out that helping others benefits our health, just as it benefits those we serve through volunteering. By giving of ourselves, we not only improve our health and happiness. Meeting like-minded people, and creating a new circle of social networks improves our lives and the community as a whole.
Though Erick Zoot Payne, a resident of Charlotte, NC, had made new friends through volunteering at breast cancer awareness events and participating in “ALL IN,” an annual poker tournament to benefit cancer research and care in the Charlotte area, he had never given back to his Alma Mater, St. Andrews University in Laurinburg, NC.
His college experience was uniquely exciting, but he left school with an attitude of, “don’t look back.” When Payne saw the extensive damage caused to the campus by Hurricane Florence in September 2019, a feeling of loss, devastation, and nostalgia came over him. Deeply affected by the photographs he saw online, over the few months following the hurricane, Payne visited St. Andrews twice, wondering what he could do to help. “Another alumnus reached out to a group of us. Music festival swirled around in the conversation, and I knew how I was going to give back to my school. Volunteering to help gave me all this energy I had stored up for a purpose,” said Payne. “I was determined to make this thing happen to show my support for the school, my friends and classmates and all those 18, 19, & 20 somethings who were eating their meals out of food trucks in the gymnasium.”
“Volunteering to help gave me all this energy I had stored up for a purpose.”
Through the SAUL Fest experience and working with the other alumni volunteers, Payne saw a love, commitment, and enthusiasm that was contagious. It showed that one person who is passionate about something can make a difference and restore a person’s faith in humanity, but a team of people can regain confidence in the community. That’s a real soul-satisfying experience. Payne now feels a kinship with his new group of volunteer alumni friends that he says affected his soul in an incredibly positive way. “I was an honor to be a part of SAUL FEST! I was excited, focused, determined, thankful, and appreciative of how hard everyone worked to get it done,” Payne continued. “After it was over, I was exhausted with the biggest smile on my face. It is therapeutic to say how I felt about the whole experience. It came and went, and I had not given much thought to what we did. We raised over $8,000 for hurricane relief for a struggling campus.
Volunteering helps because you can see right away the effects of your contribution and commitment. Research has documented the positive feelings that surface during a “helper’s high.”Individuals develop increased trust and social interactions. Participating as a volunteer with others in a group cause boosts self-confidence and decreases the risk of depression, especially in the elderly population.
Lowered levels of stress hormones have been documented in those who volunteer, versus those who don’t. Social benefits include a new network of friends with shared interests and a sense of purpose. At the same time, volunteers learn new skills.
Volunteering has shown to improve mental and physical health in one study of adults over 60. In another study, volunteers reported better physical health and life satisfaction. They perceived volunteering as a catalyst to positive changes in their health.
If you volunteer, you often get more out of it than you give. It can be an enjoyable experience, such as the music festival Payne helped to organize. Another study showed it to be an excellent tool for driving away loneliness. Blood pressure is lowered, which affects heart health, which may be in part due to the activity causing people to become more active.
Another study concluded that volunteering should be promoted at the public health level through education and policies to improve the health of community members and the community at large. It should primarily be supported in the elderly population, minority groups, those with a low educational level, single folks, or those who are unemployed.
Donated aloha shirts, forever lei, playing cards, and other care package items will be collected by Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens Thursday, July 4, from 7 to 11 a.m. in Lili`uokalani Gardens at the Salute to Veterans fun run.
Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens will join the Salute to Veterans on Thursday, July 4, from 7:00 to 11:00 a.m. During the annual Hilo Bay 5 K sponsored by VFW Post 3830, Friends will accept donations of new or gently used Hawaiian shirts and care package items. These will be sent to the Hawaiian Shirts for Deployed Soldiers non-profit effort that already has sent more than 13,000 shirts in the two years since the mission started.
This is how Gwen Pollard ships out weekly. In two years, the non-profit mission “Hawaiian Shirts for Deployed Soldiers” has sent more than 13,000 shirts.
Any size, men’s or women’s shirt, clean and in good condition will get a thank you note in the pocket and be “Army rolled” for packaging.
Other items of interest to this effort are: thank you notes, packing tape, lip balm, playing cards, forever lei, non-perishable snacks such as macadamia nuts or trail mix, party supplies.
Thank you notes will be available to sign and slip in the pocket of each donated shirt.
If you are unable to deliver your donation to Friends on Lili`uokalani Gardens on Thursday, July 4, from 7 to 11 a.m. then please mail directly to: Hawaiian Shirts for Deployed Soldiers, attn: Gwen Pollard, 217 High Ridge Court, Easley SC 29642.
UPDATE: On July 5, 11 Priority Mail boxes were sent containing 88 shirts, 34 lei, several decks of playing cards, copies of Ke Ola magazine, and packages of macadamia nuts. Another box of freshly laundered shirts was mailed July 6 bringing the donation total from this effort to 94 shirts.
For more information on Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens and future calendar events, please see the July 2019 newsletter.
The lifeblood of any successful non-profit community organization is volunteer participation.
With Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens in Hilo Hawai`i, we are blessed with supportive residents who feel a kinship to the County park as well as interested visitors, some of whom desire a deeper connection to places they visit.
Volunteers help clear the pond edge of overgrown sod and decades of muck
In a big garden with maintenance and capital improvements as well as centennial events, there’s always something to do.
Some chores involve getting down and dirty, sweating up a storm, and exercising every muscle in your body.
This was the reality last year — two koi nobori on each pole. More will fly this year
Other activities require more artistic skill.
Some activities, such as installing a display at a public library or sitting an information table, are slightly more sedate.
No matter what your skill or energy level, Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens can use your help.
Coming up soon are the annual koi nobori event (April 30 through May 5 putting up and taking down fish windsocks on bamboo poles); the annual Hilo Lei Day Festival at Kalakaua Park (Wednesday May 1, information table); the annual AIDS Walk (Saturday May 4, information table); and the annual Hilo Huli sponsored by Rotary Club of South Hilo (Sunday May 5, information table). If you are able to help with any of these events, contact K.T. Cannon-Eger by email at email@example.com
In June, the annual Obon in the Gardens (Saturday June 1) could use set up and craft help. Contact chairman Jane Heit by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
These happy helpers found the koi nobori assembly event through Facebook last year
Many helping hands are needed Tuesday, April 30, to assemble koi nobori and bamboo poles.
This indicates the quantity of bamboo poles used in the annual koi nobori project
Please meet in the parking lot of Mokuola at 9 a.m. 4/30 if you are able to help.
Meet at the parking lot for Mokuola
Koi is an ornamental variety of carp introduced to the rest of the world from Niigata at a World’s Fair in Tokyo in 1914. The fish is a symbol of strength and overcoming adversity. It expresses a wish for health and success.
Koi nobori (colorful koi windsocks) are flown in Japan from April through early May in honor of Childern’s Day (May 5) known as Kodomo No Hi, which formerly was known as Boys’ Festival (Tango No Sekku). Children’s Day has been a national holiday in Japan since 1948. It is the last day of Golden Week.
The tradition of flying koi nobori came to Hawaii with Japanese immigrants. The first group (Gannen Mono) arrived in 1868. The biggest waves of immigration from Japan started at the behest of King David Kalakaua.
King David Kalakaua in Japan, 1881
The first ship of Kanyaku Imin arrived in Honolulu on 8 February 1885. By the U.S. Federal Census of 1910, Japanese immigrants and their families accounted for 43% of the population of Hawaii.
2017 – the first of a three-year centennial celebration of Lili`uokalani Gardens – marked a return to flying koi in the Waiakea area. Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens wishes to honor the tradition and bring attention to community events happening this week.
Held annually in Kalakaua Park on May 1
Hilo Lei Day Festival will be held in Kalakaua Park on Wednesday, May 1, starting at 10 a.m.
Held annually, the AIDS Walk raises funds that stay on this island to help build a healthier community
The 8th annual AIDS Walk fund raising for the Hawaii Island HIV/AIDS Foundation will be held in Lili`uokalani Gardens on Saturday, May 4, starting with registration at 8:00 a.m.
Held the first Sunday in May, this year’s Hilo Huli falls on Sunday, May 5
The Rotary Club of South Hilo annual fundraiser “Hilo Huli” will be held on Mokuola Sunday, May 5, starting at 11 a.m. Koi will fly until Hilo Huli is over.
Koi nobori may be seen at Suisan Fish Market, Pandamonia’s Paleta Palace at Ali`i Ice, Lili`uokalani Gardens, Hilo Bay Cafe, Shoroan (the Urasenke tea house), Banyan Gallery, Castle Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, and the Grand Naniloa Resort among other Banyan Drive locations. The most colorful and abundant display will be on the bridge to Mokuola.
For more information on Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens, please take a look at our monthly electronic newsletter for April.
This is the dream — some day there will be an abundance of koi nobori
Several years ago, Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens board member Kenji Kuroshima had this dream of flying koi nobori in the park for Boy’s Day (May 5). We don’t have the abundance of his dream — yet. With your help, Friends hope to increase the number of koi nobori this year.
This was the reality last year — two koi nobori on each pole. More will fly this year from Tuesday, April 30, through Sunday, May 5.
In Japan, koi nobori fly from April through early May to celebrate Children’s Day (Kodomo No Hi), a national holiday changed in 1948 to honor both boys and girls. Koi is a type of carp symbolizing courage and strength.
Bamboo poles are harvested near Hirano Store on the Volcano Highway and each year are donated to local fishermen at the end of the display through the assistance of Suisan Fish Market.
Koi nobori will be attached to freshly cut bamboo poles on Tuesday, April 30. Assembly area is adjacent to the parking lot at Mokuola, just off Lihiwai Street in Hilo.
Many hands are needed for this annual activity. If you have koi nobori to donate or wish to help with assembly and placement of the poles, please meet Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, April 30.
koi nobori on the Mokuola bridge
Koi nobori may be viewed at Suisan Fish Market, Hilo Bay Cafe, Pandamonia’s Paleta Palace, Shoroan, Lili`uokalani Gardens, Banyan Gallery, Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, Grand Naniloa Resort, and across the bridge to Mokuola.
The bamboo poles remain in place through the annual Rotary Club of South Hilo fundraiser Hilo Huli on Sunday, May 5.
the annual Rotary Club of South Hilo event funds scholarships and grants in our island community
Here is a link to the Rotary Club of South Hilo page on Facebook and the event where you may order tickets.
Banyan Gallery has a few 2019 calendars left. Funds raised support Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens.
Last week, turning the page on the 2019 calendar, I was met with delight at the sight of one of my photos selected by photo contest judge Mary Goodrich. What a glorious morning that was. I was on the sixth floor of the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel and got up early to prepare for a garden workshop.
looking toward Mokuola from the 6th floor of the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel around 6 a.m. (photo by K.T. Cannon-Eger)
Banyan Gallery carries the few remaining calendars and now has a limited edition Yoshirt with this photograph. Proceeds benefit Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens.
Women’s shirt in medium or large; photo is embedded in the fabric and won’t wash out or fade; dries quickly, great for travel
The calendar was prepared late last summer. We tried to include as many dates of events in Hilo as we could find. Some dates have changed since the calendar was printed.
April calendar page featured photo by K.T. Cannon-Eger
Notable is the 8th annual AIDS Walk listed on the calendar as Saturday, April 13. The actual date of this fundraiser is Saturday, May 4, in Lili`uokalani Gardens. The registration table opens at 8 a.m.
Annual fundraising walk where all the money raised stays on this island.
Are you looking for an opportunity to enhance your Japanese landscape skills?
Portland Japanese Garden offers an amazing opportunity to learn stone setting, bamboo fence construction, and other skills including tools, aesthetics, and history.
Deadline for the beginner’s course is today (February 15) with the course set for June 3-9. Intermediate level deadline is in April with the course set for September 16-27. More details and registration at the link below:
Meanwhile, in Hilo a pruning class will be taught by Dennis Makishima in Lili`uokalani Gardens Tuesday and Wednesday, March 19 and 20. Advance registration is required. The course is geared toward public park maintenance personnel, Master Gardeners, and active landscape industry workers.
Registration for this workshop is closed with 50 registrants and a small waiting list. No more registrants can be accommodated. More workshops will be held in the future. Register early.
UPDATE: As of Monday, February 25, class registration is full with 50 participants. There is a small waiting list.
Dennis demonstrates how to handle black pine in a tropical climate. photo by Bill F. Eger 2011
Dennis is the founder of the Merritt College (Oakland, California) aesthetic tree pruning program. He is a past president of the Golden State Bonsai Federation. Dennis used to come to Hawaii annually to help with the bonsai show at the Okinawa Festival in Honolulu.
Now he says he’s retired, but Dennis is coming to Hawaii in March to work on clients’ trees over two weekends on Oahu. In between, Dennis will return to Hilo to teach pruning workshops to County park maintenance personnel, local landscapers, and Master Gardeners. Registration in advance is required for the two-day workshop Tuesday and Wednesday, March 19 and 20.
“Several Sister City trees have been planted since the last time Dennis visited,” K.T. Cannon-Eger of Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens noted. “They are in need of pruning so it’s a good time to share these skills with others.”
His pruning career started in 1980 when he was working for a produce store in Berkeley. He and a plumber friend traded labor and Dennis pruned his first black pine tree. Over the years, Dennis studied urban horticulture and developed multi-year plans to work on clients trees.
While taking a horticulture class at Merritt College, a team project tackled the pruning of a maple tree on campus. Student interest led to the formation of an aesthetic pruning series as well as a continuing organization that offers a certification program.
“His teaching and leadership made it possible for pruners to make a living at aesthetically pruning trees,” said Randall Lee, president of the Aesthetic Pruners Association. Lee said he learned under Makishima starting around 1988 and said he would not have been an aesthetic pruner without him. Lee said many pruners now advertise themselves as aesthetic pruners, and his organization, founded 10 years ago, was started to certify and support them. The association’s website lists 77 affiliated pruners throughout the United States.
“I was fortunate to meet Dennis at a North American Japanese Garden Association conference. He expressed an interest in Lili`uokalani Gardens and two years later he managed a side trip to Hilo during which 20 County maintenance personnel and Master Gardeners took hands-on workshops with Dennis.”
The two-day workshop will be held in Lili`uokalani Gardens Tuesday and Wednesday, March 19 and 20, from 7:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. each day rain or shine. Lunch, refreshments, and workshop materials are included in the $15 registration cost. Meet at the old sumo ring, a shelter near the tea house and parking lot off Banyan Drive.
To reserve a space, contact K.T. Cannon-Eger at email@example.com or phone (808) 895-8130.