All of Hawaii gravitates to the beaches on weekends, why not go on a picnic and relax in an environment surrounded by beautiful flora and fauna and birds chirping in the background for a change. Yes? Go on over to Foster Botanical Garden, a short walk away from downtown Honolulu.
Set on nearly 14 acres, Foster Botanical Garden has one of the nation’s largest collections of tropical plants — about 10,000 species in all, including rare and endangered varieties. There’s a lovely orchid garden, rare and endangered trees some of which are extinct in the wild, an herb garden, a prehistoric garden showcasing primitive plants from around the world, and a garden which features plants that are used for food, medicine, fabrics and dyes.
The garden originated in 1853, when Queen Kalama leased a small patch of land to a young German doctor named William Hillebrand, an avid botanist and physician – Hillebrand and his wife built a home in the upper terrace area of the garden. After about 20 years in Hawaii, he returned to Germany and produced a lengthy dissertation titled Flora of the Hawaiian Islands.
Later on the property was sold to Thomas and Mary Foster. Upon Mrs. Foster’s death in 1930, the 5.5-acre site was donated to the City & County of Honolulu as a public garden. Foster Botanical Garden opened to the public in November 1931 with Doctor Harold Lyon as is first director, who introduced 10,000 new types of trees and plants to the Islands over a span of 27 years.
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin
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