Kailua-Kona, Hawaii: Tropical tapestry

Welcome to a tropical paradise
Lauren Bonar Swezey

High above the Pacific Ocean on the slopes of Mauna Hualalai is Fern and Larry Kanes' Hawaiian paradise created by designer Julie Ellison. The 165- by 60-foot garden, carefully carved out of a steep, rocky 4-acre parcel, glows in the tropical sun.

Three hundred feet of winding pathways covered with macadamia nut husk mulch lead through a kaleidoscope of more than 150 types of foliage and flowers. Gardenia, plumeria, and tuberose blooms fill the air with their heady scent. Bromeliads, creeping Charlie, dracaena, dumb cane, and philodendrons--plants that are familiar to most as indoor rather than outdoor specimens--tumble down hillsides and poke out of cracks and crevices. "It's like a Hawaiian English garden," observed one juror. "The garden is a wonderful juxtaposition of foliage colors," noted another.

DESIGNER: Julie Ellison, Art of Gardens, Kona/Hilo, Hawaii (808/965-6442)