Regal flair fills garden show


POSTED: Friday, April 10, 2009

Queen Liliuokalani re-corded all of the plants in her garden in her own handwriting. Historical documents at Iolani Place describe unique floral arrangements made for special occasions on the palace grounds. And many of the plants that we consider Hawaiian were brought to the islands during the reigns of the royal families.





        » On view: 10 am. to 4:30 p.m. April 17 and 18; and 1 to 5 p.m. April 19

» Place: Honolulu Academy of Arts


» Admission: Free


» Call: 532-8700




These are just a few bits of information that led the Garden Club of Honolulu to choose the theme of “;Na Pua Ali'i—Reflections of Hawaii's Royal Legacy”; for its Flower and Horticulture Show at the Honolulu Academy of Arts next week.

“;We fell in love with the period and the people we were studying,”; said Paulette Stone, event co-chairwoman. “;We learned so much and were impressed by the many things we did not know about the Hawaiian monarchy.”;

This year's highlights include botanical jewelry—with plant matter standing in for precious gems—and an exhibit on the gardens of royal properties like the Queen Emma Summer Palace.

The show at the academy is rated a “;major”; show by the Garden Club of America, which means it meets national criteria for the number of classes, judges and divisions offered. At least 100 horticulture entries and 35 floral arrangements (Honolulu has 48) must be in competition, said Lesa Griffith, director of communications at the academy.

“;A major flower show is the top-tier show level of the Garden Club of America,”; Griffith said. “;It's like Major League Baseball games, as opposed to Triple A games.”;

All of the judges must be approved by the Garden Club of America and have six years of training, and entries must be accepted from across the country.

Such shows take place only every three years, and this year only two others will be held, in Texas and Connecticut. The first such garden show at the academy was in 1931, one year after the Garden Club of Honolulu was founded, and ran annually at various venues. The GCA granted the show “;major status”; in the '80s, and it's been scheduled every three years since. The local garden club is a member club of the Garden Club of America, which includes 197 clubs across the United States.

The local entries in next year's show will reflect the theme, taking visitors back to the height of the majestic Victorian era, and intends to “;recall the romance, elegance, adventure and pioneering spirit of that special era,”; said Stone.

The competition will transform the academy into a different type of space, home to living sculpture. “;They have a different theme each year and always focus on something fresh and different,”; said Stephen Little, director of the Honolulu Academy of Arts. “;There is a huge amount of creativity.”;

The Garden Club has had a close relationship with the academy for many decades, helping with the museum's gardens since the 1920s, Little said.

“;The show provides a great chance to show off the academy,”; he said. “;The event draws visitors that may not come to the academy otherwise.”;