Some 205 students from local pre-K and high schools all over the Big Island toured the gardens by the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Library Lanai during the celebration of this year’s Earth Day. The gardens were showcased by the Ag230 students of spring 2018. This has been a regular contribution of the class to Earth Day celebrations since these gardens were established in 2009 by former students.
Students from Tropical Horticulture class spent a day revitalizing and beautifying potted plants and ornamental gardens at a local church.
By Kyle Jackson, Student, Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, Horticulture Track.
Each semester, students of Introduction to Tropical Horticulture (HORT 262) engage in community service. On February 15, 2018, our class of 14 students set out to help Malia Puka O Kalani Church revive their ornamental garden.
The church is located in Keaukaha, Hilo, where almost half of the resident population is Native Hawaiian and 292 acres are devoted to Hawaiian Home Lands. The garden was initially started by a few parishioners of Malia Puka O Kalani in 2016 when Fr. Oliver Ortega was the parish priest. Different tropical ornamental plants such as bougainvilla, anthuriums, hibiscus and many others adorned the church on weekend services and then were returned to the garden for care and maintenance.
However, since Fr. Ortega left and the composition of the parishioners changed, most of the plants were left unattended with half of the potted plants dead and half badly needing repotting, pruning, watering and fertilizing.
We were given instructions on our mission for the day: beautify the church area by moving plants and shelves to a new area. Another part of our goal for the day was to improve the general appeal and health of the plants.