1980 Biennial – Hawaii

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Date(s) - 06/14/1980 - 06/22/1980
All Day


About 150 members of The Palm Society converged on Hilo, Hawaii on Saturday, June 14, 1980, those 115 or so from the “outside” to be met by local members with leis in traditional Hawaiian style.  Registration at the Hilo Lagoon Hotel was followed by an informal cocktail reception.  A brief account follows for those who must follow our footsteps vicariously.

Sunday, June 15

Traveling in two chartered buses with personable guide-chauffeurs, we spent Sunday in Hilo, visiting Kuaola Farms, operated by members Mr. and Mrs. Jules J. Gervais, Jr., to see anthuriums grown commercially and the Gervais’ budding palm collection, and Hirose Nursery, where Mrs. Hirose provided not only a handsome garden for inspection but seeds and refreshments. Luncheon at the K K Tei was a Japanese-style meal in a garden setting, followed by a chance to work off some of the abundant food at Akaka Falls State Park, where waterfalls are set off by handsome plantings along the trails.  The buses then took the group to the garden of Mr. and Mrs. Toshiro Imoto, where a splendid Amherstia nobilis was an added attraction to 67 labeled palms, cooling punch, and a chance to see how large and handsome Areca catechu can become in a dozen years or so in Hawaii.

The grand finale of the day was a visit to Onomea Garden and the palm collection of Mr. and Mrs. Donn Carlsmith with its ca. 275 species.  The route from the Imoto home to the Carlsmith home led along the coast where Archontophoenix alexandrae planted years ago has become naturalized (as we saw elsewhere in the Hilo area).  Onomea is expanding from a nucleus of mature palms, including striking Clinostigma samoense, into newly planted former cane field.  A heavy rain held off long enough for everyone to assemble under an awning for cocktails and alfresco dinner livened by a group of singers and a dancer and impromptu performances by some society members.

Monday, June 16

Monday’s program was full in the morning, more leisurely in the afternoon.  We first visited the home of Mr. and Mrs. Haijme Tanaka, where palms dominate the plantings and form a miniature tropical forest among fields of sugar cane.  Moistened physically by rain but spirits not dampened, we continued to the office of W.H. Shipman Ltd., where the late Herbert C. Shipman had planted many unusual palms.  By a fortunate set of circumstances we were able to follow the visit with one to Mr. Shipman’s estate, where he lies buried among majestic mature palms, passing en-route an area where he had planted one coconut for each year of his life on his 70th birthday.  And last on the morning’s agenda was a tour of the Hilo Tree Nursery where a Colpothrinax wrightii, perhaps the only one outside Cuba, was an impressive sight along with Calyptronoma dulcis, Acoelorrhaphe wrightii, and others introduced many years ago by L.W. Bryan, formerly District Forester.  A relaxed afternoon visiting the city of Hilo, cocktails, and a buffet supper hosted by the Hilo Chapter of the society across the lagoon from out hotel at Wailoa State Park closed the day.

Tuesday, June 17

Aboard buses again, we transferred operations to Kona on the other side of the island by way of a stop to see Pritchardia beccariana and Volcanoes National Park, where a special viewing of a film on volcanoes had been arranged.  Further stops were made at Black Sands, where Pritchardia affinis in fruit led to mass trespassing, and Manuka State Park for a box lunch with many palms to admire.  A last halt provided an opportunity to visit the City of Refuge National Park at Honaunau where formerly breakers of taboos or defeated warriors could find asylum and absolution.  Then the trail led onward to Kona Lagoon Hotel in time for a swim before the Biennial Membership Dinner, complete with poi, a brief formal meeting to announce new officers, and an illustrated talk on palms of New Caledonia by Harold E. Moore Jr.

Wednesday, June 18

After a morning spent viewing gardens and nurseries in the Kona region, members dispersed temporarily, some to stay on Hawaii, others to visit Maui, Oahu, or Kauai before a final two days on Oahu, where we were based at the Ala Moana Hotel.

Friday, June 20

Different buses and different but informative drivers carried members to the Lyon Arboretum of the University of Hawaii, where Dr. Sagawa, the Director, and Raymond Baker, Gardener, provided orientation to the research palm collection.  The arboretum has a rich palm complement with many unusual specimens now fruiting.  Fruits of a number had been gathered and placed in buckets for the taking and those who took refuge in the gazebo from a light rain were treated to refreshments served by the Friends of the Arboretum.  A buffet dinner at the hotel was followed by an introduction to a younger garden, the Pacific Tropical Botanical Garden at Kauai, provided by its Director and Palm Society Board Member, Dr. William L. Theobald.

Saturday, June 21  

The Wahiawa Botanical Garden, a unit of the Honolulu Botanical Garden System, with collections of Pritchardia species and New Caledonian palms of special interest was the initial stop on a day-long tour of gardens and nurseries on the island of Oahu.

Sunday, June 22

Foster Botanical Garden in Honolulu was the focus of a morning in Honolulu after which members went their separate ways, some home, some to Kauai for a tour of the Pacific Tropical Botanical Garden, some to remain in Oahu.

Throughout the eight days, Hawaiian hospitality was everywhere evident.  Those of us who attended the meeting are deeply indebted to all our hosts in the islands and to Mrs. Gladys Ewart of Metropolitan Travel, Inc. who everywhere made life easier for us with her arrangements for hotels, transport, meals, and the sundry details that so diverse a group can require.

Formalities were kept to a minimum, but new officers and directors were elected and are listed in the masthead on page 142.  A new face among the officers is that of Dick Douglas who joins Paul Drummond, Ruth Shatz, and Pauleen Sullivan (see Principes 21: 37-30, 1977 and 22: 144, 1978 for biographical sketches).  Dent Smith was elected an honorary member, Lucita H. Wait was elected to the Advisory council, and Myron Kimnach automatically joined that group on expiration of his term as director.  The following committees were approved by the Board of Directors: Nominating – Warren Dolby, Edward M. McGehee, James Specht (chairman); Promotion – William J. Hemmer, DeArmand Hull, James Mintkin (chairman), Lynne Stewart; Publication – Donn Carlsmith, Harold E Moore, Jr., William L. Theobald (chairman).  Changes in dues and subscriptions were approved.

H.E. Moore, Jr.