The Sweetie and I were on our way up to see the redwood forest in Poli Poli State Park, but we never made it.
On Waipoli Road we passed a breath-taking succulent and bromeliad garden the likes of which I’d never seen before. I yelled “halt,” and the patient Sweetie waited as I began taking pictures of the eye-popping expanse of pink-blooming kalanchoe you see above.
As luck would have it, there was the master gardener doing some watering behind the gate. When he caught wind of my enormous enthusiasm, I was invited to have a look inside.
Once the gate was opened, I felt as if I’d entered a wonderland of plants. Here was a gardener obsessed, and the result was a variety of bromeliads and succulents everywhere I cast my eyes. The color combinations of oranges, purples, and reds were as daring as they were alluring. Many of the plants were in stunning antique Chinese porcelain containers, which the gardener imports and collects.
The happiness of the plants was everywhere apparent as all were robust and many were flowering.
I’ll save the gorgeous bromeliads for another blog and focus now on the succulents. I’ve have some of them as potted houseplants in my Manhattan apartment and they muddle through, growing very slowly. Here, in the perfect conditions of Kula, Maui, they expand as if on steroids, enjoying bright sun all day and temperatures dropping to around 40 at night. And of course, they respond to the doting attention of a gardener beguiled by their color and beauty, coaxing them on.
I love meeting people who are passionate about what they do, and this gardener is about as passionate as they come. His succulents speak of a life well lived, a personal creation of a personal Eden.