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Learn all you can about tomatoes

Aloha from beautiful Hawaii! Last week, we were lucky enough to be there, on the stunning island of Oahu.

Aloha from beautiful Hawaii! Last week, we were lucky enough to be there, on the stunning island of Oahu. A friend of ours, upon hearing that we were going, said "I don't know how they do it, but even at the airport, it still smells like flowers!" And he was so right! That was our first impression as we got off the plane: that somewhere out there, beyond the airport lights, flowers were in bloom.

Gardeners, I wish you could have been there with us! There were flowering plants everywhere; my favorites were the plumeria, a tree with a delicate flower with five petals, most commonly creamy white with yellow throats, and the most exquisite scent. These are the flowers that are often used for leis. We brought back two plumeria leis, and as I sit here chatting with you, they are still fragrant with the scent of the islands.

I purchased a book called "A Pocket Guide to Hawai'i's Flowers" by Leland Miyano, with beautiful photogrpahs by Douglas Peebles. In the forward, Mr. Miyano says this: "flowers are a plant's expression of love"; isn't that a great expression? He also says that "Hawai'i is full of aloha, literally, "in the presence of the breath of life." What a nice way to appreciate the beauty of the flowers!

There were many hibiscus, in reds, yellows, oranges, and corals. These seemed to be a popular planting for public flower beds. The hibiscus is the state flower, and also the official flower of Oahu. The blooms were tremendous, as large as my hand, and the colors were so vibrant that once or twice I had to feel the blooms to see if they were real!

Anthiriums were everywhere: red is the most popular color, but I was very taken with the green and coral anthirium that was used as a ground cover at the International Marketplace. The flowers were smaller, but such interesting colors!

And orchid lovers would have been swooning, because orchids are growing everywhere! They were absolutely exquisite: I took pictures of almost every color that was planted in the atrium of our hotel, and then I was so excited about them the next day that I think I took all their pictures again! My handy little book said that there are 15,000 to 20,000 species! Imagine that!

When I looked up, way up, I was also enthralled by the palm trees. The palm fronds would be very large, if they were stretched out on the ground. They bend and sway with ease in the wind, which makes us realize the "miracles of construction" that enable all plants to exist in the conditions that they must call home. Someone told us that in a very bad storm, the tops of the palm trees would simply snap off, and start growing again from the trunk. They are well adapted indeed.

And for flower arrangers, you and I would have been oohing and aahing over the huge flower arrangements of exotic flowers in the lobbies of hotels and restaurants. One of my favorites must have been six feet high and at least six feet across, with red ginger, bird of paradise, and white anthiriums as big as a frying pan! Absolutely breathtaking!

I could go on, but I'd better tell you about the next meeting of the Yorkton and District Horticultural Society on May 19. Our special guest will be Glen Tymiak telling us everything we need to know about growing tomatoes, so please join us! That's at 7 p.m. at the Yorkdale Student Centre. And remember, our Spring Plant Sale is on Friday at the Parkland Mall, from 9:30 till 5 p.m., but come early for best selection!

It will be a busy week, but a fun week! See you at the meeting and the plant sale!