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Dig This
Friday, May 19, 2000

By Stephanie Kendrick

By Ken Ige, Star-Bulletin
Each of Dorothea Ogdemli's lotus flowers bloom for
three days. They start off vibrant pink and fade to white
on the third day. Then the petals fall off and the "shower
head" seed pods begin to grow

Rare chance to
visit lotus ponds

After many years and a number of attempts, the North Shore Outdoor Circle is confident it has a workable plan for the landscaping of Weed Circle.

"There've been many steps to this process," said Patsy Gibson, many time past president of the group and chairwoman of an upcoming fund-raiser for the project.

The Haleiwa Mainstreet Association is a partner in the Weed Circle beautification endeavor, for obvious reasons. Weed Circle, the junction of Kamehameha Highway, Waialua Beach Road and Kaukonahua Road, serves as the gateway to Haleiwa Town. And while its name is not a botanical distinction -- Weed was a prominent family in the area -- the dull grass and two lonely trees that make their home there do not serve as an impressive greeting to visitors or residents.

The Outdoor Circle plans to landscape the area with gold trees and native Hawaiian plants; including kukui, ilima and the ground cover, akia. Former project partner Hawaiian Electric drew up plans and donated plants to the effort and the group has already raised some funds, about $10,000 of the $30,000 to $40,000 they expect will be needed, Gibson said.

Hence the fund-raiser the group has planned for June 3.

By Ken Ige, Star-Bulletin
Lotus seeds are edible when green and taste
like sweet peas.

Plant lovers are the target audience for "Pharaoh's Garden," which will include breakfast pupu with a Middle Eastern flair and presentations on water gardens, orchid culture, bromeliad baskets and hydroponic produce.

The theme is borrowed from the Mystery of the Nile exhibit at the Honolulu Academy of Arts and guests are invited to come in costume. But the hosts have a plan for those without the time or inclination to do so. "Every person who comes in will be given something to wear," Gibson said.

The setting, at the Lotus Gardens, owned by Dorothea and Kaya Ogdemli, was chosen for its exotic beauty.

"There are so many people who live out here and in town who never have a chance to see lotus blossom," said Gibson.

The Ogdemlis have been growing lotus for seven years, since a friend brought them seven roots from China.

"The first year we had about 400 blossoms the next year we had 2,500," said Dorothea.

About 2,000 seems to be the carrying capacity of the four ponds that take up about a third of an acre of their Haleiwa home.

"You don't plant them, they just grow back every year," she said.

In fact, you have to thin out the roots each year to keep the population healthy.

"Same like mango, you have to de-stress it every year, then you get more flowers," said Kaya.

The thinning process takes place in the winter, after the three-month summer blooming period.

The fund-raiser is a rare chance for the public to see the Lotus Gardens, which the Ogdemlis have created for their own enjoyment, not for commercial purposes.

"There is no profit in it," said Kaya. The few commercial lotus growers plant hasu lotus for its edible root, he said. But the hasu produces far fewer flowers than their Indian lotus.

"Painting classes, they want to come; photography classes, they want to come; Foster Gardens, they want to come; all sorts of people," he said. But beyond offering the property for Outdoor Circle fund-raisers, they prefer to keep their home private.

Once you've had a look at the property, you may be happy to learn you don't need a third of an acre of ponds for a water garden.

Betsy Sakata will be giving a demonstration on creating a container water garden at the event.

"It's a very informal kind of gardening. Very satisfying," she said.

Sakata, who has worked on the water gardens at Ala Moana Center and the art academy, will discuss plant choice and planting height, among other things. "Even water plants can drown if they are in too deep water," she said.

"You look at texture, color. Pick appropriate plants for whatever feature you really like."

The best part, Sakata said, is that container water gardening is not a long-term commitment.

"It's like redoing the furniture in the house, you can rearrange it the next year if that's not what you want," she said. "It's an artistic expression, after all."

The garden Sakata creates during her demonstration will be auctioned off at the event.

The ticket deadline for the fund-raiser is May 26 and tickets will not be available at the door.

Pharoah's Garden

Bullet What: North Shore Outdoor Circle fundraiser
Bullet When: 9:30 a.m. to noon, June 3
Bullet Where: Lotus Gardens in Haleiwa
Bullet Tickets: $25, deadline May 26.
Bullet Call: Joan Bean at 638-7822 or Ann Gold at 638-7940

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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