Botan­i­cal gar­den and hy­brid orchid are among lega­cies of Mary Foster

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - HOME & GARDEN - HEIDI BORNHORST

Do you know about Mary Mika­hala Robin­son Foster and her many gifts to Hawaii and the world? One of her main lega­cies is Foster Botan­i­cal Gar­den. Come visit the gar­den for free, learn about plants you love and find out about this amaz­ing Hawai­ian woman on Satur­day at the spring plant sale, spon­sored by the Friends of Honolulu Botan­i­cal Gar­dens (FOHBG). Sign-ups for classes are of­fered on a first-come, first­served ba­sis. Come to the gar­den on Satur­day to sign up! The plant sale be­gins at 9 a.m. with early en­try for FOHBG mem­bers at 8:30 a.m. If you be­come a mem­ber, you will help sup­port all five city gar­dens and get free ad­mis­sion to Foster gar­den ev­ery time you visit. (The other four gar­dens are free to every­one.) We will also be cel­e­brat­ing our new di­rec­tor of the Honolulu Botan­i­cal Gar­dens, Josh­lyn “Josh” Sand. She worked her way up from Hooma­luhia plant prop­a­ga­tor to hor­ti­cul­tur­ist to di­rec­tor of our five city gar­dens. I was tour­ing the gar­den’s orchid glasshouse re­cently and asked orchid spe­cial­ist hor­ti­cul­tur­ist Scot Mi­ta­mura about the Mary Foster Vanda.

There it was in bloom! It is an old-fash­ioned pri­mary hy­brid be­tween Vanda mer­il­lii and V. sande­ri­ana. Both par­ents are from South­east Asia, with mer­il­lii not seen of­ten in cul­ti­va­tion here. Sande­ri­ana is more com­mon and highly fa­vored by folks from the Philip­pines as it is their na­tional flower called “wal­ing wal­ing.” The Mary Foster flow­ers are slightly fra­grant.

Dr. Harold Lyon cre­ated this pretty orchid in honor of Foster. Lyon was the first di­rec­tor of Foster gar­den af­ter Foster gave it to the peo­ple of Hawaii in 1931. Foster Botan­i­cal Gar­den is fa­mous for big old trees, flow­er­ing trees, plants with eco­nomic uses, na­tive Hawai­ian plants and or­chids! There are or­chids in green­houses and, as na­ture in­tended, up in trees and even on rocks. That’s hor­ti­cul­ture, baby!

Heidi Bornhorst is a sus­tain­able land­scape con­sul­tant spe­cial­iz­ing in na­tive, xeric and ed­i­ble gar­dens. Reach her at hei­di­born­horst@gmail.com.

Spring Plant Sale classes

>> Grow­ing Na­tive Hawai­ian Plants: Heidi Bornhorst will ex­plain how to suc­cess­fully se­lect, grow and main­tain na­tive Hawai­ian plants. >> Man­goes & Fruit Trees: Makaha Man­goes owner Mark Suiso will dis­cuss the wide va­ri­ety of man­goes grown here, the en­vi­ron­ments they pre­fer and grow­ing op­tions. Kalani Mat­sumura of the Ur­ban Gar­den Cen­ter will cover some of the ser­vices and classes pro­vided by the cen­ter.

>> Bromeli­ads & Til­land­sias: Sharon Petersen, owner of Sharon’s Plants, will dis­cuss the care and cul­ture of bromeli­ads and til­land­sias. >> Suc­cess at Grow­ing Or­chids: Mi­ta­mura will dis­cuss the keys to un­der­stand­ing the needs of or­chids and how to ad­dress them.

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