We love to find "Hidden Gems", and the Foster Botanic Gardens are one of Oahu's best kept secrets. Located an easy 15 minute walk from our apartment on Bishop Street, this 14 acre Garden is one of five Public Gardens (and the oldest) on the Hawaiian islands. Queen Kalama leased the original 4.6 acres to Dr. William Hillebrand, an avid botanist, in 1853. After he built his house on, what today is called the Upper Terrace, Hillebrand began to plant trees and to introduce new plant species to Hawaii. In 1884, Hillebrand decided to return to his native Germany and sold the land to Thomas and Mary Foster. Also avid botanists, the Fosters expanded the property. Upon Mary's death in 1930, the land was donated to Hawaii, with the proviso that it be preserved as a public garden.
Today, Foster Gardens has one of the largest collections of tropical plants (over ten thousand species)in the United States and has been the backdrop for several films (including "The Beginning of a Garden" - the story of Hillebrand's efforts). The Upper Terrace, which we previously stated is the oldest part of the gardens) includes a "Sacred Fig Tree" - a clone descendent of the Bodhi tree that Buddha reportedly sat under in order get inspiration. In 1988, the Foster Botanic Gardens were placed on the Hawaii Register of Historic Places. If you ever get to Honolulu, be sure to include these gardens on your itinerary. You'll be pleasantly surprised. It is well worth it.
Because we found the gardens to be so beautiful, there will be very few captions attached to the following pictures, so as not to detract from your enjoyment.
The Sacred Fig Tree.