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.
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.
Sequestered between the rolling waves of the South Pacific and the primordial beauty of Kahana State Park’s rainforests, Kualoa Ranch is the Platonic ideal of paradise. There, experienced guides lead expeditions into 4,000 acres of serene valleys and hills, stopping by famed movie sites from Jurassic Park or LOST, peering into an 800-year-old fishpond, and stopping horses or ATVs so that explorers can soak up the expansive views of southern O'ahu. Even the ranch itself is magnificent. Pavilions serve as pristine settings for guests to celebrate or yell at the sunset, nestled at the bottom of lush green mountains and on the edge of cliffs that overlook the tranquil waters of Kane'ohe Bay. Across that glimmering surface, a private, white-sand beach where guests sunbathe and lounge rests among mangroves and hau trees.
Regardless of their exact coordinates, the Ranch’s visitors experience Kualoa's rich history firsthand. A prime example of the benefits of continued preservation, Kualoa has been everything from a family getaway to a World War II airstrip, but the owners have always sought to maintain the beauty that set it apart. The tradition continues today, as employees participate in community-work projects focused on restoration, taro planting, and fostering a sense of Hawaiian pride for every visitor.
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.