Tropical Gardening: Trees need special love and attention

Trees, shrubs and other vegetation are the lungs of the planet, so the more the better, especially in urban and suburban settings. Some of our ancient historical trees like the banyan at Kona’s King Kamehameha Beach Hotel get so big we tend to over prune them to keep them in scale. This amazing tree is the first thing visitors see as they enter by ship at Kailua Bay so it is important that the tree is properly maintained. The spectacular banyans that frame Banyan Drive in Hilo are another example of unique trees needing love and attention. The East Hawaii Outdoor Circle has been instrumental in protecting them.

Let’s Talk Food: Vegan cookbooks

Chef Lillian Cumic has been creating plant-based recipes for over 20 years. She is a vegan chef and cooking instructor from Sydney, Australia, and lived in Sendai, Japan, for 30 years, working in the food industry and refining her love of vegan cooking.

Volcano Watch: HVO erupts with gratitude for University of Hawaii partners

The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is made up of experts with a wide variety of specializations. Seismologists, geodesists, geochemists, geologists, technicians, and support staff all work together to accomplish the same mission: to monitor, research, and assess hazards related to volcanoes and earthquakes in Hawaii.

Tropical Gardening: Staghorn ferns are the survivors of dinosaur days

Hawaiian gardens have long been famous for their vast array of orchids and other showy flowering plants. Ferns on the other hand don’t get top billing in most landscapes even though they were probably the first vascular plants to make Hawaii their home. In fact, ferns have been around long before flowering plants evolved.

Tropical Gardening: A New Year’s Resolution

Observing the extreme polarization of folks who have different political, cultural or religious points of view over the last decade, we should recognize it is nothing new. We have had divisions throughout history and it makes us wonder if we will ever change for the better. The answer is yes if we are willing to focus on the real sources of our misery.

Tropical Gardening: Christmas weekend an opportunity to share aloha

This is the perfect weekend with Friday being Christmas Eve, today Christmas and Sunday Boxing Day. Many Americans are not familiar with the history of the latter, but it is perhaps second only in importance to celebrating the birth of Jesus. The tradition of Boxing Day may be traced back to the early Christian era when the rich used to box up gifts to the poor. Today it is much more popular in the UK and Commonwealth Nations and is concurrent with the Christian holiday, Saint Stephan’s Day or Day of Goodwill.

Let’s Talk Food: A great gift for a foodie

“Yum Yum Cha, Let’s East Dim Sum in Hawaii,” is Muriel Miura’s last cookbook, published posthumously with help from friend, author, and Honolulu Star-Advertiser columnist, Lynette Lo Tom. Muriel had worked on this dim sum cookbook for years, taking the manuscripts with her back and forth to the mainland whenever she visited her daughter. She dined at numerous dim sum restaurants both in Hawaii and on the mainland to hone her list of recipes. For her, it was a continued work-in-progress.

Tropical Gardening: Give living gifts for Christmas

Christmas in the tropics can be a challenge. The surf and beach are still a big attraction. Some folks might even take the holidays to catch up on gardening projects. There are folks who miss the snow and the bite of frost in the air. They remember the cold, dark days when all life is dormant. They long for the coziness of an open fireplace and the smell of holiday cooking in the kitchen. A trip to Mauna Kea will help add to the spirit of the season.

Volcano Watch: HVO innovation, 3D application

The electronics workshop at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory buzzes with creative activity. It’s like Santa Claus’ workshop — for volcano science. Workbenches line the walls of the room, cluttered with things in the making: pliers, wires, and bottles of glue; voltmeters, calipers and microchips, too.

Tropical Gardening: Tropical pines hard to find this year

Christmas is almost here, but it seems like most folks are a bit slow in getting their trees up this year. Don’t delay any longer since trees that are shipped in early are best. If you wait, the cut mainland trees will dry out and can become fire hazards. The advantage to imported trees is that they have a pine scent. This year almost 100,000 trees are arriving and unfortunately some unwanted hitchhikers as well. One container arrived with slugs, a garter snake and tree frogs from the Pacific Northwest.

In Buddhism, women blaze a path but strive for gender equity

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, born in England, has devoted her life to attaining enlightenment in a female form — at one stage spending years isolated in a cave in the Himalayas to follow the rigorous path of the most devoted yogis. She later founded a nunnery in India focused on giving women in Tibetan Buddhism some of the same opportunities reserved for monks.