Monday, July 13, 2009

Maui--and Vetiver--are No Ka Oe!

Earlier this month, Deb and I spent a couple of days in Maui checking on Vetiver installations and enjoying the company of new and old friends. Our first stop was Lahainaluna High School, the oldest high school west of the Rockies, where history and a sense of present purpose converge. As I gazed at the juvenile planting, vivid memories of the lovely March 31st installation washed over me. Under the capable direction of working managers LHS Ag Instructor Keith Ideoka and LHS benefactor Gunars Valkirs, among others, a small group of bright, enthusiastic students nimbly clambered up the bare slope to plant Vetiver slips. As school resumes, and fall relaxes into winter, I trust that these kids--and school leaders--will recognize that the rain has finally met its match. Rushing water will no longer slice topsoil off this slope, leaving its mess on the greenhouses below!

After the school visit, we visited a beautiful Kapalua hillside estate, where a remarkable 10-month old Vetiver installation occupies a prominent place in the landscape design. Kudos to Inoke Taufa and his Friendly Island Landscaping crew, who installed a striking perimeter border and stabilized slopes using plant material from Vetiver Systems Hawaii. In another couple of months, the hedges will be dense and sturdy enough to contain the owners’ four dogs--not that they'd ever want to leave their very special Eden!