Florist brings attention and care to arrangements

If you look back at the photos, the flowers are exactly the same.

Friston Ho’okano had to make sure Abercrombie’s flowers were just as tall as Hannemann’s, that Hanabusa’s heliconias were just as showy as Djou’s.

“It’s not just throwing flowers together. Florists work so hard,” he said. “I was there with my tape measure.”

Ho’okano, 47, did the floral arrangements for all four televised debates on KGMB this year. You might not have noticed how perfect each arrangement was, but if one candidate had droopy gingers or dying fronds, your eye would be drawn to that instantly. Instead, he helped make the stage look dressed, but not overdressed; and more polished than some areca palms in plastic pots, with a definite Hawaii aesthetic.

“For a piece in front of a podium, I always plan a slender design so the attention points up to the candidate’s face,” he said.

Ho’okano has worked in several Oahu flower shops and counts most florists on the island as his friends. He had his own shop, Waimalu Florist, for four years before moving to Ribbons n Rainbows in Kapolei.

Local Christmas Trees for Sale at Helemano Farms

WHITMORE VILLAGE — Helemano Farms, local grower of thousands of Christmas Trees in Central Oahu, opens next week on the day after Thanksgiving 2010. The Whitmore Village farm will offer thick, evergreen Leyland Cypress Christmas trees this year along with its traditional and gorgeous Norfolk Pines. Prices for all of our Norfolk trees are the same as last year – only $40 for Norfolk Christmas Trees up to 6 feet tall.

Families who visit the farm can choose their Christmas tree from thousands of Norfolks ranging from 5 to 20 feet tall and from more than one thousand Leylands. Helemano Farms, located on Whitmore Avenue, will be open every day from noon to sunset on weekdays and from 10 a.m. to sunset on weekends. We are on the Web at: and

Our Leyland Cypress trees start at $60 and our locally made Christmas wreaths start at $25. Our farm workers cut, wrap and load all trees for customers free of charge. Our Norfolk trees grow back after we cut them down! And our Leyland trees have a natural, gentle pine scent.

First shipment of Christmas trees arrive for the holidays – but not for sale, yet

“I hope the people in Hawaii are ready for it,” said Richard Tajiri.

It’s an annual tradition Richard Tajiri knows a lot about. Lining up to buy a Christmas Tree.

There is also an Aloha state tradition– agriculture department inspections.

“Well were looking for any type of invasive pests that could be hitchhiking along with the Christmas trees,” said Agriculture Department Inspector Glenn Sakamoto. “So like last year we had a few containers because of slugs that are not found here in Hawaii.”

Inspections that are already underway.

And dealers like Tajiri already know what they’re looking for.

“I’m probably the only one in Hawaii to go out and mark every tree that we bring in,” said Tajiri. “I tag every tree. You know if I see a tree out there and it’s got a little bit of yellow. You know I miss some, I’m not perfect. But I see some yellow and ah I don’t want a yellow tree because I know people in Hawaii don’t want a yellow tree.”

“Most of them are pretty clean,” said Sakamoto. “We have certain conditions that they have to follow before they come into Hawaii. So, they have to be shaken prior to coming into Hawaii. So, relatively coming in they have been relatively clean.”

Several things can cause pine trees to brown

By Nick Sakovich

Q: Arriving in Hilo from Europe several years ago, we were presented with several Norfolk pine trees in a pot to use as our first Christmas tree. … We noticed that several branches had gone brown/died off. We did notice, also, some very small webs at the base, though are unsure if this has any significance? Expecting it to recover in dappled sun conditions with plenty of water and some fertilizing; we noted recently that the browning has continued, though the trees have continued to grow. Any ideas what is causing the browning of branches (we notice some of the keiki Norfolk trees in pots in the garden have similar browning)? Any advice/assistance would be gratefully appreciated as this coming Christmas is a particularly special one, with a reunion of loved ones from afar. — R & A

Real Christmas Trees are an Affordable, Environmentally Conscious Way to Celebrate the Holiday Season

SOURCE Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association

Sustainably Grown, Real Christmas Trees From the Pacific Northwest are Now Arriving at Local Lots

PORTLAND, Ore., Nov. 9, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and for growers in the Pacific Northwest the holiday season is in full swing as they begin to harvest this year’s crop of real, farm-grown Christmas trees.

The Pacific Northwest is home to more than 1,000 individual Christmas tree farmers who supply a majority of the real Christmas trees purchased in California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona and other Southwestern states. Grown on sustainable farms, real trees are grown just like produce, nuts or other crops, so they do not threaten natural forests, a common misconception.

“Choosing a real Christmas tree is an environmentally conscious choice because of the way they are grown; in fact, many trees are grown in soil that won’t support other crops,” said Mike Bondi, professor and extension faculty for Oregon State University’s College of Forestry. “People can feel good about purchasing real trees because they help reduce carbon emissions by absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen, which benefits people, plants and the environment.”

Additionally, real Christmas trees are renewable and growers plant one or more to replace every tree they harvest. Real trees can also be recycled and turned into mulch or compost, so no waste goes in to landfills.

Christmas Trees in Hawaii : Aloha Howdy

Talking about Christmas trees in Hawaii is a little early being that its November 8th today.

But I was just watching Hawaii Five-O tonight, and it made me think of us getting our first Christmas tree in Hawaii. So how does Hawaii Five-O make someone think about Christmas trees. I’ll get to that in just a second.

When you are used to living on the mainland and you first move out to Hawaii, there are a few adjustments you have to make… a few ‘differences’ you have to get used to. To name a few:

1. Even though there is an interstate, it doesn’t take you to another state.
2. Shoes come off at the front door, and all of those shoes will be ’slippas’.
3. They serve Spam for breakfast at McDonald’s.

There are probably a hundred others, but maybe you get the point.

So coming up to our first Christmas on Oahu, we began to talk about where, and how, we would get a Christmas tree. We did learn that they do ship Christmas trees in and you can pick them up at places like Home Depot and such (yes, Hawaii has a couple of Home Depots). But after Sumi had done some internet research, she found this wonderful place up on the North Shore called Helemano Farms. Its a Christmas Tree Farm, in Hawaii. How cool is that?

So we picked our day for getting our first Hawaiian Christmas tree, and headed north to Wahiawa.

At that time, the only Christmas trees that they grew were Norfolk pines. They are very cool, very unique looking Christmas trees.

Overnight red a good sign for Growing Greens

KAPA‘A — Almost overnight, everything turned red, said Marit McHugh, manager of Growing Greens Nursery in Kapahi.

“It was starting to turn, we had some signs of red, and all of a sudden, it’s all red,” she said Friday. “It must be the weather.”

McHugh was talking about the 2010 crop of poinsettia which is scheduled to start shipping next week to various commercial outlets, malls, churches and people with standing orders.

This year’s crop included about 5,400 plugs that were brought in August and raised at the Kapahi location. Now that they are in bloom with the holidays looming, the deliveries will start going out.

“This isn’t the biggest crop we’ve had,” McHugh said. “But then, the economy dictates what we need to do. Our best year, we had about 8,000 plants going out.”

Included among her plantings is “Ice Crystal,” a new variety brought in last year that has proven to be a solid seller, McHugh said.

“We brought in just a few last year and people grabbed them up almost immediately,” she said. “This year, we’ve brought in a few more and, already, half of the crop is going to Marriott’s Waiohai Beach Club and some of the jewelry shops around the island. We’ve also put some in lava rock for decorations.”

The lava rock poinsettias are something new Growing Greens is trying out this year, the plugs being placed into specially drilled-out lava rock and growing bonsai-style.

Sonia Tastes Hawaii: Hawaiian Style Christmas Wreath Demo

I was asked to do a demo on how to make a Hawaiian style Christmas wreath at the Kino’ole Farmers Market. The demo was yesterday morning and in spite of lots of rain, the market was lively! We had several people sit through the whole thing (2 hours!) and some came and went and at least 4 people tried their hand at adding a bit to the wreath.

To make a Hawaiian style wreath, you use native plant materials for which you need to go foraging up to the Volcanoes National Park area or on the lower slopes of Mauna Kea on Saddle Road (this is on the island of Hawai’i also known as the Big Island). Before you even start, the first thing you need to do to be able to pick in those areas is to get a special permit, which is free, from the Department of Land and Natural Resources. This permit should be on your car dash clearly visible in case a ranger or other official should stop by to see what you’re up to.

The second thing you do is look around for a good spot in which to forage or go with someone who is already familiar with several choice picking spots. As with most people who make this style wreath, I have my own particular favorite place to pick.

The third thing you need is to know what plant material to look for and what dries well so that the wreath will still look beautiful after its no longer fresh.

If you know all of that already, then you’re ready to start.

Parish and School News: Oct. 29, 2010


St. John Vianney Parish

Christmas tree order forms are available in the school and parish offices. Trees this size usually sell for double the prices we are asking. Last year trees were absolutely beautiful! The supply will be limited, so don’t wait to put in your order! Cost: 6-7 foot douglas fir, $65; 6-7 foot noble fir, $78. Delivery date: Nov. 27. (From the parish bulletin)

Parish and School News: Oct. 29, 2010