Waimea has some of the deepest, richest, and oldest soils on Hawai’i Island.

Our upcountry town has a long and successful history of verdant agriculture, ranching, and old-fashioned ‘Waimea style’ gardens with lovely English style floral borders. This is precisely what Helen Burlingame wanted for her garden, which she named Lamaiki that means a small torch or light, or little spiritual light. The style in Waimea is reminiscent of an English perennial flower border with banked plant heights, from the lawn to low perennial borders reaching the tallest heights at the property’s edge. Helen wanted the garden filled with old-fashioned flowers like pansies, daisies, Johnny Jump Ups, and herbs.

This year-round blossoming border has a lush, full composition of hardy, shrubby foliage and background foundational plants: locally available plants which have the stature and cadence of English blossoming perennials, as well as experimental newly introduced small flowered semi-tropical perennials.

The undulating color scheme, which gently changes from left to right, is held together by a string of common elements:

  • A silver border of Lambs Ears, alyssum, variegated Liriope, Mondo grass, Mother of Thyme, and a wide selection of lavenders
  • The rhythmic repetition of lavenders and purples throughout
  • The sprinkling of white very small florals, and a sense of a white ‘froth’ atop and throughout the border
  • Well-placed large garden walking/tending stones rhythmically placed throughout the border
  • A tall, strong dark green, simple background of clustered Sugi Pines and clumping bamboos
  • Low-voltage night lighting luminaries

People often ask how I connected to Paul Mitchell, who became a beloved patron and a friend. I received a call one day from innovative Oahu based architect Carey Smoot asking me out to lunch in Hilo with Paul Mitchell and himself. I was honored to hear that three different people recommended me for the Paul Mitchell landscape design work, after Paul rejected several top landscape architect’s designs for his estate. He had put out the word that he was looking for a great designer who knew about edible landscaping! It was a blessing to work with Paul and Carey.

While I was designing Paul’s Lanikai estate, I was also working on site at Paul’s Diamond Head residence installing a new landscape. The design was done on the spot with edibles and colorful plants. 


This local Oahu edible landscape features a wide variety of the owner’s favorite tropical and semi-tropical fruits that are most suitable to the Aiea climate, and existing volcanic shallow cinder soil.

Tear down the fences!
This simple story really inspired me! 

​A very special couple I know bought a home on Bainbridge Island. The yard had fruit trees, and they planted more. They planted a very fine garden and began to bring fresh vegetables and fresh homemade pies to their neighbor. They all got to know and like each other, and the neighbors loved their garden. Together, they tore down the fences, enlarged the garden, and planted more fruit and nut trees.  

They began to share fresh vegetables and pies with the two neighbors at the back border. The same thing happened! They also tore down their fences and enlarged the garden and planted more food trees. They now enjoy a huge common garden, and often share meals and good times together. That just may the happiest life of all!

With that story in mind, I designed this is a model of three small yards connected with edible landscaping.

Click to enlarge
Art and Soul for the Earth
 Big Island of Hawai'i