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Dig This
Friday, December 22, 2000

By Stephanie Kendrick

By George F. Lee, Star-Bulletin
Stephen Haus' Makiki garden is among those
featured in "Gardens of Hawaii."

Haus and garden

Bullet Gardens of Hawaii: By Stephen Christopher Haus (Haus Associates); paperback; 218 pages; $55

Gardeners across time and culture have endeavored to create an idealized picture of nature in their landscaping.

In Hawaii, eastern and western gardening traditions have melded in some stunning landscapes. A few are explored and cataloged by Stephen Christopher Haus in his new book, "Gardens of Hawaii."

"The Asian garden arrived at the same conclusion as the Western garden. Looking natural is the goal," said Haus.

"They are all highly manipulated gardens, but they don't look designed.

"It's as if nature was frozen at it's best season," he said.

An award-winning landscape architect who has lived in Hawaii since 1982, Haus features some of his favorite local gardens in the book, as well as Asian and European landscapes that illustrate the influences behind familiar designs.

The photographs in "Gardens of Hawaii" were taken by Haus over the past 22 years.

They include inviting shots of Lyon Arboretum, Four Season Grand Wailea, Punchbowl, Mauna Kea Resort, Pacific Tropical Botanical Garden and several private residences, including his own garden.

Haus has worked on most of the gardens in the book.

The Honolulu Academy of Arts is among the gardens explored in greatest detail.

"That's the finest example of courtyard architecture that Iknow of," he said. "It's a three-dimensional sculpture painting.

"It functions as a living room for the academy and a breathing space for the galleries."

Haus' mentor, May Moir, long designed floral sculpture for the academy. A celebrated gardener in her own right, Moir's Nuuanu refuge is the first garden featured in Haus' book.

Dominated by fern and bromeliad that seem to thrive in the lush climate, it is an enchanted space.

Most of the book concentrates on wet-ecosystem gardens, but Haus denies finding other Hawaii climates any less interesting. Tropical forest settings have simply been more in demand in his experience.

"The tropical garden is the most popular garden right now in all of the garden magazines," said Haus.

But he plans to follow up with a second volume on local gardens that will include an expanded look at xeriscaping and native plants.

Rock placement and statuary play a large role in the book.

"It adds structure and focal point. It's the bones. The skeletal structure of the garden is the rocks, the sculpture," said Haus.

"The plants are the skin. Both are important, but you can't have good skin without good bone structure."

Though "Gardens of Hawaii" is not intended as a how-to book, Haus does include a short tips section to share some of the things he has learned as a local landscape architect. His personal preference for low-maintenance gardening drives this approach to beauty with a minimum of work.

Do It Electric!

Gardening Calendar in Do It Electric!

Stephanie Kendrick's gardening column runs Fridays in Today.
You can write her at the Star-Bulletin, P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802
or email

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