It is surprising to see the variety of plants that will grow at higher altitudes, almost up in the clouds.
These gardeners pay careful attention to the plants they select and understand the weather and its effect on growth. Knowing climate, growing seasons, soil conditions, moisture and pest control, things that all gardeners should know no matter where they garden, results in minimal failures with maximum success. Gardening at higher altitudes takes into account the slope of the land and its exposure to the sun.
For instance, if it is sloping to the west, that means it’s slow to heat up in the mornings but the warm afternoon temperatures will carry the warmth into the evening. Insect activity occurs differently than at lower altitudes too. We were told the insects arrive later in the season, but in greater numbers than they do further down the slopes of Haleakala.
What is wonderful about these upcountry gardens located on the slopes of Haleakala is they are a lot cooler than down by the coastline. They have more interesting landscapes with interesting rock formations, waterfalls and stunning borrowed views. A dormant volcano, Haleakala, is responsible for the creation of East Maui. The climate is dry and temperate, perfect for growing a wide variety of Mediterranean plants.
We visited the 8 acre Kula Botanical Garden at 3300 feet, the Ali`i Kula Lavender Farm at 4000 feet and The Tedeschi Winery at Ulupalakua Ranch at 2000 feet elevation. Walking paths were layered in flowers and exotic foliage at all three locations.
The winery had wine tasting and their unique wine was made with pineapple. I am not a wine drinker but tried one, but the rest of group tried many samples. The room where you get to taste their wines was used as a guest cottage for King Kalakaua when he came to the Ulupalakua Ranch back in 1874.
King Kalakaua was known as the “Merry Monarch” for his love of poker and fine champagne. He loved a good party too. The grounds are beautiful with rolling hills, hibiscus in bloom, a carved statuary garden, and mature trees over 100 years old. It is home to Hawaii’s largest camphor tree. There are several old lava rock buildings on the property, dating back to the late 1800’s. See all these in the galleries above.
They sell many things made with lavender. We had lavender/honey muffins with lavender herbed butter for lunch. It is home to approximately 55,000 lavender plants and 45 different varieties of lavender. Lavender is not native to Maui, but it acclimated to the Haleakala mountain slope. Thriving in Kula’s Mediterranean climate, the lavender blooms year round in the cool, dry climate. While we were there, very few plants on the 13.5 acre property were in bloom.