Come celebrate the 100th anniversary of Lili'uokalani Gardens

Discover Japanese gardening with the Aloha spirit!

Gardening workshop and private garden tour in Hilo, Hawaii

September 14-16, 2017


Join NAJGA and Friends of the Lili`uokalani Gardens for a three-day gardening workshop and tour of private and public gardens in the beautiful bay city of Hilo, Hawaii.  Learn to prune black pines and ironwood, and renew large, aging azalea; help create a stone arrangement at one garden entry; participate in assembly of a lantern; learn what plants work in tropical climates; attend lectures on Japanese gardens as wellness sites and the history of Lili'uokalani Gardens; get pointers on shooting landscapes from professional photographers; and dine with a view of an active volcano!


Thursday is an optional (extra fee) daylong bus tour of significant local gardens and historical attractions in the Hilo area.  The bus departs from and returns to Hilo Hawaiian Hotel.  Stops include:
  1. The Pacific Tsunami Museum for a docent-led presentation on the impact of tsunamis on Lili`uokalani Gardens and the Hilo area
  2. Lunch at Nani Mau Gardens, which showcases twenty-two acres of gorgeous tropical flowers and plants, including an orchid garden and rare palms
  3. Mountain Meadows Nursery and Carlsmith Beach Park
  4. Tsunami Memorial, a centennial floral design by Hitomi Gilliam AIFD at the County Building, and the garden at Hilo Daijingu.

Friday offers three garden building and pruning projects in Lili`uokalani Gardens. 
  1. Takuhiro Yamada from Kyoto and local specialist David Tamura will teach you how to create a stone arrangement at the south gate entry to the gardens.
  2. Rob Frost and Fred Nonaka will demonstrate small tree pruning and azalea restoration.
  3. Mike Sasaki of Sasaki Monuments will assemble a replacement stone lantern.

Next, enjoy a Golden Hour Tour of Lili’uokalani Gardens with professional photographers who offer insights on garden photography. In the evening join Friends of Lili’uokalani Gardens and NAJGA for an optional banquet to meet fellow Japanese garden enthusiasts and NAJGA members.

Saturday morning is devoted to health and wellness in gardens.

1. The morning will kick off with an optional Walk for Alzheimer's, followed by a talk by Dr. Craig Kadooka, of the Walk with a Doc program

2. Jade Iokepa will discuss the Blue Zones Project.  

3. Dr. Kendall Brown will speak about his latest book, Visionary Landscapes: Japanese Garden Design in North America, The Work of Five   Contemporary Masters 

4. KT Cannon-Eger will present the fascinating 100-year history of Lili`uokalani Gardens.

3.  Raymond Tanouye, Fred Nonaka and David Tamura will lead a panel discussion on "What grows here? Gardening in Tropical Climates"

In the afternoon vans will depart for a tour of Volcano-area residential gardens, including Bide-a-Wee, the former estate of Charles C. and Laura Kennedy (patron of Lili'uokalani Gardens), known for its extensive collection of hydrangeas, camellias, and azaleas. Also on the Volcano Village tour are Kimalia, a vireya rhododendron collection, and a tea farm.

Dr. Kendall Brown

Takuhiro Yamada

Ken Brown is Professor of Asian Art History in the Art Department at California State University Long Beach. He received BA and MA degrees in history and art history from the University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University. His books on Japanese gardens in North America include Japanese-style Gardens of the Pacific West Coast (1998), Quiet Beauty: The Japanese Gardens of North America (2013) and Visionary Landscapes: Japanese Garden Design in North America, The Work of Five Contemporary Masters (October, 2017).  His next garden book, on the design history, fostering and social use of the Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, Illinois, should be published in 2018. Dr. Brown is also an art historian and has published and curated widely of Japanese art.

Mr. Yamada is the president of Hanatoyo Landscape, which celebrated its 150th anniversary in business six years ago.  Mr. Yamada is the fifth generation in his family to head the company. Their clients in Japan include many cultural treasures. He has designed and installed gardens in Paris, London, and Honolulu. In the mainland United States, Yamada was the designer of the new tea house garden at The Huntington Japanese garden on the occasion of the Pasadena garden’s centennial in 2012.

     He continues his father’s dedication to passing on traditional skills. At the same time he is leading the company into the future with green industry techniques in rooftop gardens and green waste recycling. Like his father before him, he is qualified as a tree doctor and is a pioneer of new tree treatments in Japan.

KT Cannon-Eger

Fred Nonaka

KT Cannon-Eger is a local historian and President of the Board of Friends of Lili'uokalani Gardens.  On Saturday morning she will be speaking on the history of our host garden, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary from 2017-2019.. Japanese gardens outside Japan are being recognized as part of a shared world heritage. The proof of this emerging status is the new U.S. postage stamp featuring Lili`uokalani Gardens—the first time a Japanese-style garden has appeared on a United States postage stamp.

Fred Nonaka is a landscape contractor headquartered in Waimea, a cooler region of Hawaii island amid cattle ranches and vegetable farmers. Fred studied at the East-West Center Garden at the University of Hawaii-Manoa. His experience in stone cutting met the challenge of relocating the garden around Shoroan in Lili'uokalani Gardens after the first teahouse was burned by vandals. He and his wife Nancy have a long connection to Lili'uokalani Gardens, Pacific Buddhist Academy, and Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii.  He is known as the Lions Club cherry tree maven, and has been active in the annual Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival that celebrated its 24th year in 2017.

"Walk with a Doc"

     For years, Dr. Craig Kadooka has has been trying to convince his patients to get more exercise.

“They would always ask me, ‘What kind of exercise machine should I buy?’ I would say, ‘Just walk!’” he said Sunday.

“Walking has the lowest dropout rate of any exercise. Other things, like running, typically within a couple months they drop out. … What happens when you buy a treadmill? It starts out in the center of the room, and then after a while it starts getting pushed to the side of the room, and pretty soon you’re hanging your clothes from it.”

     People who walk regularly can experience significant health effects, and it’s easy, requiring only a good pair of shoes and some consistency on the part of the walker, he said. So Kadooka and other health professionals in the Hilo area decided to put their feet on the ground and their “money where our mouths are,” he said.

     In 2014, they launched Walk With a Doc — a regular Sunday meeting at Liliuokalani Park and Gardens in Hilo, at the corner of Lihiwai Street and Banyan Drive, caddy corner from Suisan Fish Market.  Beginning at 8 a.m., people looking to take a walk with a dose of medical advice and encouragement thrown in can meet up and take a stroll with Kadooka and other area health professionals, including physicians from the Hawaii Island Family Medicine Residency program and medical students from the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine.  

Golden Hour Photography tour with Kenji Kuroshima

 Professional photographer Kenji Kuroshima will be leading a Golden Hour photography tour in the late afternoon on Friday the 15th.  In addition to landscapes, Kuroshima loves to photograph hula. He and his wife Michelle run a small guesthouse catering to visitors from Japan who are interested in hula, yoga, macrobiotics, music, tea ceremony, lava flows and a wealth of other special offerings on Hawaii Island. His photographs adorn the Merrie Monarch Festival office in Hilo and have been published around the world. Kenji also writes a daily blog about life in Hawaii Kenji serves on the Board of Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens.

Volcano House Restaurant

Hilo Hawaiian Hotel

Dinner Saturday night will be at Volcano House, where you’ll enjoy a view of the Kilauea caldera and Halemaumau Crater as your backdrop.  Volcano House cuisine features flavors unique to the Pacific region and dishes made with ingredients from local farms and ranches. After sundown, we’ll adjourn to Jaggar Museum in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park for a spectacular view of an active volcano: 

volcano cam

Event participants are encouraged to stay at the oceanfront Castle Hilo Hawaiian Hotel with views of historic banyan trees or the ocean and Mauna Kea in the backgrounds.  A restaurant specializing in fresh, local cuisine serves a daily breakfast buffet and dinner, while the lobby lounge is where guests get lunch to-go or sip on tropical cocktails over appetizers. The resort sits on HIlo Bay on the Big Island, across from a golf course, next to Lili-uokalani Gardens and connected to Coconut Island by footbridge.  Hilo International Airport is three miles away.

Garden Tour


Panaewa Rainforest Zoo


Tea Hawaii

Bide-A-Wee began as the estate of Charles A. Kennedy.  Charles and his second wife Laura were early benefactors of Lili'uokalani Gardens. Many Japanese landscape features at Bide-A-Wee were installed in the early 1900s by Mr. Yamamoto, the garden designer from Kyoto who went on to create Lili'uokalani. The 13.6 acre estate still contains an extensive collection of camellia, azalea and hydrangea, many kinds of moss and a large gingko tree.

Panawea Rainforest Zoo and Gardens is a county facility with a Friends group. This 12-acre site is the only tropical rain forest zoo in the United States. Notable in the collection of eighty animal species are two tigers. Numerous plant societies have added to the landscape including Big Island Water Garden Society, Hawaii Island Palm Society, Hawaii Tropical Rhododendron Society, and Hilo Orchid Society, to name a few.

Kimalia is a two-acre garden, stream and tea house set in an ohia tree and hapu'u forest. It is the home of the Mitchell family. The late RA "Mitch" Mitchell was recognized the world over as a hybridizer of vireya rhododendrons.

Eva Lee and her husband Chiu Leong are the founders of Tea Hawaii and Company, growing high-quality tea at over 4000 feet within a temperate rain forest for the past twelve years.  They are also active members of the arts community in Volcano Village.

100th Anniversary of Lili'uokalani Gardens


     The new United States Postal Service Priority Mail postage stamp is a centennial project of Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens four years in the making. Each year, more than 50,000 proposals for stamps are received. Approximately a dozen are selected each year as commemoratives. Only one idea becomes a Priority Mail or Express Mail stamp.

     Lili`uokalani Gardens joins a select group of iconic features on the American Landmark series of Priority Mail and Express Mail stamps, which began in 2008. Previous stamps in the series include the Columbia River Gorge, Mackinac Bridge, Mount Rushmore, Hoover Dam, Old Faithful, and Grand Central Terminal, to name a few. The other Hawaii image in the series was USS Arizona Memorial, an Express Mail stamp released in 2014.