Keokea Perennials – a Garden Story.
Keokea Perennials is the end result of a long garden journey. Starting in the early 1980’s plants began to seduce me with their colorful ways. I cleared a small space outside of my kitchen door and planted a six-pack of Marigolds. That night snails came and mowed them all to the ground. Well lesson number 1, it’s not quite that easy.
So now with more Marigolds and some snail bait I was on my way. And this first encounter with Mother Nature turned into a life long passion. When friends invited me to join them in some weekend play I would nearly always say that I was busy working in my garden. This ‘work’ was the ultimate in play for me.
I planted seeds, I planted bulbs, I started a vegetable garden, and I was hooked. And quickly I began to search out more unusual plants than Marigolds. First it was all the local nurseries, but that still wasn’t enough. Then the mail order catalogues rolled in, filling my mailbox with new treasures.
Being self taught I sought out garden books. First was the Sunset Western Garden Book. I read and studied every page over and over. My bookshelf grew substantially as I devoured countless garden tomes. I traveled to Botanical Gardens far and wide. I began a monthly tour of the Huntington Gardens, Descanso Gardens and the Los Angeles Arboretum. I walked every trail, and off trail niche. I went farther to Strybing Arboretum in San Francisco and the Berkeley Botanical Garden in Strawberry Canyon. I did this over and over again for many years.
My garden grew into a small nursery, than a larger nursery. And then I started doing gardens for others. Of course I always wanted newer and better plants, ones that the local nurseries did not carry, so I had to grow them myself. So the nursery grew and grew, I just could not stop buying plants.
Then came my first trip to Maui, around 1986. And I was hooked again. The first trips were all tourist games. Walking the beach, jumping in the water, catching the sunrise on Haleakala. But even on vacation I couldn’t stop thinking about plants. A great friend had a Bed & Breakfast and he and his wife always let me stay there. So I would garden for them while I was there.
Then one night, while drinking wine, my friend said, “You know if you had a nursery here your visits could become a business tax write off”. And so that’s what I did, I started a small nursery in Keokea. Well to bring a short story to an end, the nursery grew bigger and I began selling to Kula Ace. And some 10 years after that I began selling to Home Depot.