The Story of the Banksia Flower
Have you heard of the Banksia Men? These were the villains of May Gibb’s “Snugglepot and Cuddlepie”, a children’s book series first published in 1918. In it, the Banksia Men are drawn as the aged cones of Banksia trees with the follicles as facial features. It’s no wonder that Gibbs picked Banksia flowers as her inspiration. These huge, colorful flower spikes have tons of character. They bloom into flowers that look tubular or cone-shaped; they’re frequently a sunny yellow, red, orange, or green.
These stunning trees were first collected by a man named Joseph Banks, which is where they got their name. He collected them in Australia during Cook’s voyage of 1770. They were first described, however, in Australia in 1782. The banksia genus is a good traveler, and, in 1977, people started importing these amazing flowers to Maui for commercial cultivation.
These days Banksia flowers are beloved in gardens as shrubs that grow tall, filling in big spaces that require hardy plants. Gardeners keep them for the mammals and birds they attract with their large quantities of nectar, too. They produce a steady supply of nectar even when other sources dry up.
Beekeepers and the Aboriginals of Australia also like the continual flow of nectar these plants produce. The nectar is so plentiful that the people of south-western Australia used to suck on the flower spikes straight, as well as making a sweet drink out of it. They would soak the flower spikes in water, and it was as good as juice.
Commercially, they make great cut flowers, particularly the Banksia coccinea and the Banksia baxterii. Some of them even make good dry flowers. Banksia flowers add variety to any bouquet, from their bright colors to their leathery texture. They come fresh from protea farms on Maui where they luxuriate in the warm days and acidic soil that bring out their best blooms.
If you are looking for a flower with a little history and a lot of character, contact us about our Banksia flowers.
Kukui Nut: What’s It All About?
First brought to the islands by Polynesian explorers from Southeast Asia, Aleurites moluccana, or kukui, is the state tree of Hawaii. With light green foliage covered in a silvery-white powder, these trees can grow to a height of 80 feet, and they have beautiful and fragrant white flowers. Because the trees and their products are so versatile, kukui trees held an important place in the religion and daily lives of the ancients.
In older times, only royalty were allowed kukui nut leis, and the leis were cherished. Today, they are often given to arriving guests, and many people have added the candlenut leis, bracelets and anklets to their jewelry wardrobes. The bracelets are often shared during the exchange of wedding vows to represent the joining of the two spiritual lights of the bride and groom into a single, holy union.
Kukui nuts were a source of light in ancient times, as well. Originally, the nuts were skewered on wicks made from frond leaves from coconut palms, stuck into the ground or a pot of dirt or sand, and lit one by one. As they provided light, they also helped measure the passage of time. Later, the oils were extracted and burned in lamps.
Spiritually, the kukui trees were once held to be the physical form of Kamapua’a, the pig god of the island culture. The kukui ano ano, or kukui leis, were the first prayer beds used by the Hawaiian people, and they represent light, hope and renewal.
In addition to leis, spiritual symbolism and contemporary jewelry, the kukui nuts may be roasted, pounded and mixed with salt and chili peppers to make inamona, a delicious relish-like condiment. The oils were also used often as medicines and tonics for health. Today, the oils are often used as a skin moisturizer that creates a protective layer on dry skin that allows the area to heal naturally.
The oils and ashes of the burned nuts were used to dye tapa cloth and to polish and waterproof wooden bowls, as well as canoes and surfboards made from koa wood. Crushed nuts can be used to polish kukui nut leis, too.
To learn more about kukui nuts and other Hawaiian traditions, contact us.
3 Characteristics Unique to Hawaiian Weddings
The Aloha State is widely known as one of the best honeymoon destinations in the world. However, you don’t actually have to wait until you’re already married to appreciate the beautiful landscape of Hawaii. Instead, you and the love of your life can get married with the awe-inspiring features of the tropical island serving as a magnificent backdrop to your wedding day. Doing so will allow you and your significant other to enjoy characteristics unique to Hawaiian weddings.
Hear the Sound of Waves Crashing During the Wedding Ceremony
There’s no real need to hire a band when getting married on the beaches of Hawaii. The sound of the ocean’s waves crashing onto the shore is already wonderful music to the ears. So you’ll get to save money by not having to hire a band. Yet, your wedding guests will be afforded the opportunity to listen to the wonderful sound of nature while the two of you recite your wedding vows.
Feel Sand Between Your Toes
Hate having to go through an entire day of wearing formal dress shoes? Then come to Hawaii to get married and feel sand between your toes instead. When you’re having a beach wedding, there’s no expectation for wearing formal footwear. Hence, you’ll get to wear sandals or simply go without shoes throughout the entire wedding ceremony.
And don’t be afraid to make it casual. An aloha shirt is perfectly acceptable for an authentic Hawaiian wedding.
Take Incredibly Gorgeous Wedding Pictures
When your wedding is taking place on one of the most visually stunning islands in the world, it’s almost impossible to not have incredibly gorgeous wedding pictures. The ocean, waterfalls, and palm trees all help to create a stunning background for the most perfect wedding picture. Just don’t forget to contact us beforehand to add some nice floral touches to the amazing scenery.
Top Hawaiian Snacks for the Foodie in Your Life
Hawaii is full of delicious treats and snacks to the casual tourist. Whether you’re looking for the best snack to munch on at the beach or looking for the ideal souvenir gift for the foodie in your life, here are the top Hawaiian snacks to consider for every occasion!
Lounging at the Beach:
So you’re in Hawaii and decide to go to the beach. Unless you’re planning to pack an entire luau feast to take along you’re going to need some snacks to munch on while taking in the sun and surf. Why not enjoy some local delicacies to really have the proper island experience? One of the best Hawaiian snacks to pack along for a long day at the beach is Li Hing Mui and dried fruit! When the Chinese people immigrated to Hawaii they brought along their knowledge of drying fruit with salt to preserve the flavor. Plums are arguably the best preserved fruits and “li hing mui” literally means “traveling plum” in Chinese! Some other delicious preserved fruits to take to the beach include dried coconut, dried pineapple, and dried papaya. Not only are the local treats delicious, but the salt will replenish the body after sweating it out at the beach and helps with muscle cramps for those activities like swimming and surfing.
Gifts to Take Home:
Everyone rues the end of a vacation. That’s especially true for those enjoying the days amongst the beautiful Hawaiian beaches and mountainous terrain. What’s even more trying is finding the perfect souvenir for those friends and family back home wanting a piece of Hawaii for themselves. Well fear not, because the best souvenir is one that everyone can enjoy and it’s easy to pack into a suitcase. If you’re having trouble deciding what Hawaiian treat to take back home and give as gifts look no further than a delicious box of chocolate macadamia nuts! A box of chocolate covered macadamia nuts are cheap and can be found in virtually any convenience or gift shop on the Hawaiian islands. Not only that, but they have a rich history with the Hawaiian people since 1927 and make the perfect easy and light gift to take back home for someone you care about.
For those who have tree nut allergies or don’t like the macadamia variety another gift option is 100% Kona coffee! Hawaii is known for its locally sourced coffee beans and nothing is more Hawaiian than the Kona bean. It is cultivated only on the slopes of Hualalai and Mauna Loa on the largest island of Hawaii. There are over 600 farms on the Big Island selling coffee. It’s been a recognized brand of coffee globally since the late 19th century and a perfect gift for the caffeine lover in your life.
Of course these aren’t the only two options and Hawaii offers various delicious treats to snack on while the go or to add to a gift basket. Some other options include wasabi rice crackers, lemon or ginger crack seed, assortments of nuts, and flavored mochi! The tasty options are limitless!
For more information on Hawaiian culture or to bring a piece of Hawaii into your life with a personalized bouquet of Hawaiian flowers please feel free to contact us today!