Members Area

2023 Shirley Meneice Horticulture Conference Highlights Historic Gardens of Hawaii


November 01, 2023

Looking to the past to address future challenges

After watching reports of the devastating fires on Maui this past August, it was hopeful to explore rebirth and regeneration in this year’s virtual Shirley Meneice Horticulture Conference—Historic Gardens of Hawaii—held October 18, 2023. The one day virtual conference featured tours of public botanical gardens, a private nature reserve, and an arboretum affiliated with the University of Hawaii. A demonstration of traditional lei-making and the presentation of this year’s Freeman Medal for the Plant of the Year rounded out the event.

Videos toured components of the National Tropical Botanic Garden including the Allerton & McBride gardens on Kauai as well as the Kahanu Garden on Maui. Mike Opgenorth, director of Kahanu Garden and Preserve, began his remarks by quoting a traditional island saying— “The future is in the past.” This sentiment was echoed throughout the conference as experts discussed ways to restore or preserve gardens that feature native plants. Conservation efforts were championed as well.

A demonstration of traditional lei-making encouraged viewers to plant materials in their own gardens to be used as floral gifts. And this year’s Freeman Medal for the Plant of the Year was awarded to Passiflora incarnata—commonly known as passionflower or maypop—which is found both on the islands and the mainland. Thank you and Aloha! to the GCA’s Conservation Committee and to everyone who contributed to this idyllic presentation. 

GCA club members can watch these presentations on the Horticultural landing page of the GCA website. Next up is the Conservation Study Conference to be held on Jekyll Island, GA, November 7-10. Future virtual conferences will be dedicated to Garden History & Design, Photography, Floral Design, and National Affairs & Legislation.


See All News