Hawai‘i is home to some of the rarest plants in the world, many of them now threatened by extinction. Despite a benign and nurturing climate, native species are declining almost everywhere in the Islands. Human-introduced pests, the spread of competing alien plants, wildfires, urban and agricultural development, and other disturbances of modern life are eliminating native species at an alarming pace. In fact, 38 percent of all plants on the U.S. endangered species list are native Hawaiian plants.
A Native Hawaiian Garden is an effort to help stem the tide. Until recent years, few people attempted to raise native plants in their gardens, in schoolyards and parks, or around public buildings. But this situation is changing as essential information about raising native plants becomes more readily available. A Native Hawaiian Garden offers the most in-depth treatment yet on cultivating and propagating native Hawaiian plants. Following an overview of Hawaiian natural history and conservation, the book treats 63 species (many for the first time), giving detailed information on all stages of gardening: from preparing seeds for germination to the care and tending of the young plants in the landscape. Habitats where the plants are most likely to thrive are also described, as well as the uses that native Hawaiians made of the plants. Over 90 color photographs enhance the book.
A Native Hawaiian Garden has much to offer professional horticulturists, landscapers, and botanists, and gives reason to hope that more spaces around housing developments, shopping malls, and other commercial buildings will soon include native plants. But the book will prove especially valuable to those gardeners who wish to grow and nurture something truly Hawaiian in their own backyards. Among the many rewards of growing natives, the authors make clear, is the opportunity to contribute your own experiences and findings to a vital preservation effort.