Hui Ku Maoli Ola traces its lineage back to 1999, when friends Rick Barboza and Matt Schirman established the nursery with a mission to preserve and celebrate the distinct flora of the Hawaiian Islands. Today, the company beautifies federal lands, private homes, and retail businesses with more than 100 species of native Hawaiian plants, the descendants of specimens brought from distant shores by ancient Polynesian settlers and very strong wind. The helpful crew tends to rows of waving ferns, shady trees, and flowering bushes as they restore native habitats with professional landscaping or educate students with lectures and field trips.
Back in 1975, when Kevin Mulkern wasn't surfing, he was tending to plants with his fledgling landscaping business. He gradually became more land-bound over the years, and what began with a pickup truck, a few hand tools, and a mower expanded to include a 1.5-acre nursery offering extensive services. Today, Kevin and his wife, Susan, continue to draw upon that expertise to run Mulkern Landscaping and Nursery, spearheading Hawaiian landscaping associations and guilds and racking up a slew of accolades in the process.
The nursery offers a variety of tropical plants, including colorful lotus flowers, fragrant water lilies, and more than 20 varieties of bamboo. Landscaping experts can use these blooms and more to plot and install points of interest ranging from general gardens to ponds and waterfalls, granting yards character without the hassle of gluing googly eyes to each flower.
Flowers, shrubs, and everything else found in lush gardens get their start within Ohana Greenhouse's gardening superstore. Each of their three locations in Hawaii stocks organic nutrients, soil, pest control, and high-tech systems for hydroponics and water filtration. But perhaps the business's most essential component is its staff, who can lend their expert advice to home gardeners, commercial growers, and those walking trees from the Lord of the Rings.
At the base of the Ko'olau Mountains, Robin Petersen and her team of gardeners coax blooms from flowers as well as nourish vines, shrubs, and trees. They, and others, have contributed to the care of the 20-acre farm since 1978, when Robin's mother, Sharon, planted the first seeds.
Although the gardeners at Sharon's Plants often work with professional landscapers, they welcome beginning gardeners. They'll happily lead visitors through their inventory, and they can advise on topics such as which plants to use for privacy or what species of bamboo to serve at a panda wedding.