McBryde Botanical Garden (and a little history)

Kauai, Hawaii, 1 March 2015

We weren’t able to go to the Limahuli Botanical Garden the previous day in the north but today we visited the McBryde Botanical Garden in the south.

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Allerton Garden, Flowers, Hale Halawai, Hawaii, Kauai, Macro, McBride Garden, National Tropical Botanical Garden, Photography, Travel

This is the Allerton Garden which adjoins the McBryde Garden on the seaward end of a valley.  However the Allerton Garden is only accessible through a guided tour which takes four hours.

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Allerton Garden, Flowers, Hale Halawai, Hawaii, Kauai, Macro, McBride Garden, National Tropical Botanical Garden, Photography, Travel

So we opted for the McBryde Garden.  The access for this is hourly shuttlebus which goes past the Allerton Garden.

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Allerton Garden, Flowers, Hale Halawai, Hawaii, Kauai, Macro, McBride Garden, National Tropical Botanical Garden, Photography, Travel

The National Tropical Botanic Gardens (which runs both McBryde and Allerton Gardens) is an independent charity that undertakes projects to save rare and endangered plants around the world.

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Allerton Garden, Flowers, Hale Halawai, Hawaii, Kauai, Macro, McBride Garden, National Tropical Botanical Garden, Photography, Travel

Now in McBryde Garden, we look through a hanging vine, I think under a tree.

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Allerton Garden, Flowers, Hale Halawai, Hawaii, Kauai, Macro, McBride Garden, National Tropical Botanical Garden, Photography, Travel

Hibiscus waimeae subsp. waimeae (a local variety – I photographed the label).

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Allerton Garden, Flowers, Hale Halawai, Hawaii, Kauai, Macro, McBride Garden, National Tropical Botanical Garden, Photography, Travel

I didn’t record this one, though.

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Allerton Garden, Flowers, Hale Halawai, Hawaii, Kauai, Macro, McBride Garden, National Tropical Botanical Garden, Photography, Travel

The central tree is introduced but I don’t remember the name.

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Allerton Garden, Flowers, Hale Halawai, Hawaii, Kauai, Macro, McBride Garden, National Tropical Botanical Garden, Photography, Travel .

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Allerton Garden, Flowers, Hale Halawai, Hawaii, Kauai, Macro, McBride Garden, National Tropical Botanical Garden, Photography, Travel

This is a hale halawai or meeting house.  Planting of taro terraces is proceeding in a garden behind it under traditional and culturally important trees such as hala, kou and milo.  Taro is one of the main traditional Hawaiian staple crops.

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Allerton Garden, Flowers, Hale Halawai, Hawaii, Kauai, Macro, McBride Garden, National Tropical Botanical Garden, Photography, Travel

I might take this cue to relate a little more of Hawaiian history.  Kamehameha I banned the sale of land to foreigners but did not ban their presence.  After all, he owed his military successes in large part to European firearms.  After he died in 1819, his wife Keopuolani became regent for the young Kamehameha II.  Within months and largely under her influence, the system of kapu was abolished, the power of the priests overthrown and temples destroyed.  A rebellion followed but was crushed in a decisive battle.  Missionaries arrived soon afterwards so Christianity became the new religion of the people and missionaries educated the children of the ali’i nui (high chiefs).

Kamahameha II died a few years later (of measles in London) and was succeeded by his younger brother who took the name Kamehameha III.  He ruled for nearly thirty years and introduced constitutional monarchy under two constitutions.  As part of his Westernising policies, he introduced private ownership of land in 1848.  This was largely intended to distribute land to commoners but it was not well implemented and the result was large land holding by Europeans including the sons of Missionaries.

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Allerton Garden, Flowers, Hale Halawai, Hawaii, Kauai, Macro, McBride Garden, National Tropical Botanical Garden, Photography, Travel

Throughout the nineteenth century, the native Hawaiian population greatly diminished due to European diseases and most of the kings died quite young.  By 1874, the Kamehameha dynasty had died out and Kalakaua succeeded to the throne.  While talented and intelligent, he amassed huge debts, particularly to the white planters.  In 1887, a group of planters enforced a “bayonet constitution” by gunpoint that removed most of the powers from the king and most of the voting rights from native Hawaiians.

He died in 1891 and was succeeded by his sister, the very capable Lili’uokalani.  She tried to reinstate some of the monarchial powers and merely provoked a coup by some planters,  illegally aided by an American Naval Captain and his troops.  She had sufficient armed troops to put down the coup, but chose not to do so, relying on the US Government to overturn the situation.  This had happened in 1843 when a coup by a British Captain was overturned five months later by the British Government.

In this case, US President Cleveland was sympathetic but no restitution occurred during his term.  The succeeding President McKinlay had imperialistic ambitions and was not sympathetic.  The coup plotters were never brought to heel and Hawaii was annexed in 1898.  This may still rankle with native Hawaiians but by now there would not be a lot they could do about it.

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Allerton Garden, Flowers, Hale Halawai, Hawaii, Kauai, Macro, McBride Garden, National Tropical Botanical Garden, Photography, Travel

The history is similar to Tahiti in some ways.  In Tahiti they were invaded first by Catholic missionaries (backed up by military threats if they expelled them) and then a French military invasion that they unsuccessfully resisted.  As in Hawaii it was the British they wanted to associate with and receive protection from.  In Easter Island, it was even worse.  The population was wiped out by mass kidnappings as well as disease and when Chile took over they lost all their land and were all but enslaved for many years.  Not a pretty thing, colonialism, even, as in the case of Hawaii, when practiced by a supposedly non-imperialist nation.

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Allerton Garden, Flowers, Hale Halawai, Hawaii, Kauai, Macro, McBride Garden, National Tropical Botanical Garden, Photography, Travel .

6 comments on “McBryde Botanical Garden (and a little history)

  1. John Garofalo says:

    Thanks so much Murray for you & your wife sharing both stories & photos!

    John

    Like

  2. […] McBryde Botanical Garden […]

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  3. An interesting potted history (amazing what can be found if one digs or takes the trouble to write about it like you) thanks.
    Love the flowers – particularly the last one: In Persian, the name is “yas” I think ? anyway a lovely scent.

    David.

    Like

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