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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com
Many helping hands are needed Tuesday, April 30, to assemble koi nobori and bamboo poles.
Please meet in the parking lot of Mokuola at 9 a.m. 4/30 if you are able to help.
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.
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.
Hilo Lei Day Festival will be held in Kalakaua Park on Wednesday, May 1, starting at 10 a.m.
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.
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.
Seven years ago, the centennial of the gift of cherry blossom trees to Washington DC was celebrated with plantings of cherry trees in every state. Varieties were selected to succeed in several different climates.
Dr. Tetsuyo Koyama, retired botanist with the New York Botanical Garden and Kochi Makino Botanical Garden, currently is a resident of Hawaii. He did the research and provided assistance in obtaining seed for cherry trees deemed suitable for Hawaii’s climate, particularly at higher elevations such as Volcano and Waimea, Hawaii County, and Wahiawa, Honolulu County.
After the Cherry Tree Alley Committee completed its work for the 2012 centennial, the Hawaii Sakura Foundation was formed to continue efforts. Cherry blossom trees were planted along Piimauna Drive at the Volcano Golf Course in 2012. They started flowering in 2014 and have flowered again every year since that time.
In December 2017, Ms. Seiko Fujii, a sakura mori, visited Hilo to give a workshop on cherry trees followed by hands-on training on the Volcano trees.
To learn more about the Hawaii Sakura Foundation, please view a video on their website.
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.
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.
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 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.
Here is a link to the Rotary Club of South Hilo page on Facebook and the event where you may order tickets.
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.
Banyan Gallery carries the few remaining calendars and now has a limited edition Yoshirt with this photograph. Proceeds benefit Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens.
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.
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.
The North American Japanese Garden Association will hold a spring regional event at the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco in April.
“The Past Becomes Present: A Design Workshop” will be held Friday and Saturday, April 5 and 6. Advance registration is necessary.
Please go to the NAJGA web site for more information and to register.
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.
UPDATE: As of Monday, February 25, class registration is full with 50 participants. There is a small waiting list.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (808) 895-8130.