form and foliage

Year round garden interest with minimal care

Take My Hand, I’m a Stranger in Photographer Paradise



Jan goes native; trades pines for palms…at least for a week!

Jan just returned from Molokai where she attended the “See the Light” seminar run by Dewitt Jones, Rikki Cooke  and Jonathan Kingston, three fabulous photographers whose professional lives all have passed through National Geographic at some point and whose breadth of experience and approach to photography are rich and inspiring.  It would take pages to describe this course, but suffice it to say that she learned a lot, not only from this dynamic trio but also from their equally talented wives and the other course attendees.

Molokai plants

Form and foliage, Island-style. Aloes and bromeliads combine for fantastic effect.

She wanted to share a few “form and foliage” images from Molokai. While she didn’t go to Hawaii just to photograph foliage, it’s impossible to ignore that these exotic plants provide plenty of color, texture and interest, even before you notice that a lot of them also produce gorgeous blossoms.

Molokai foliage plants

Cordylines and Crotons join palms in paradise.

The “See the Light” workshop was based at the Hui Ho’olana (, the former hunting lodge for the Cooke family, one of the most influential families in the islands from the mid 1800s.  What started as a general store to supply missions grew to become Castle & Cooke, one of the “Big Five” corporations that dominated the Hawaiian economy for generations, until the  Hawaiian Democratic Revolution of 1954 struck a fatal blow to the sugar cane and pineapple industries as striking labor unions demanded the same wages and benefits as their mainland counterparts.

Lush tropical ferns lend soothing green.

Lush tropical ferns lend soothing green.

Molokai used to be the site of the best pineapples in the world; that is now long gone.  The island remains largely undeveloped, and many, if not most, of the residents wish it to remain so.   The Nature Conservancy and a foundation funded by Rikki Cooke and Dewitt Jones have purchased miles of coastline in an attempt to preserve the natural beauty and the habitats of the island’s native creatures.

The gardens at the Hui are serene and lovely

The gardens at the Hui are serene and lovely. This is Form and Foliage, Hawaiian-style!

The Hui Ho’olana today is a non-profit organization that hosts educational workshops and volunteer residencies to support a self-sustaining facility and Hui’s native Hawaiian reforestation projects.  The Hui has hosted photography workshops since the 1980s.  Rikki Cooke and his wife Bronwyn manage the Hui. The lodge is rustic, but roomy and comfortable, featuring a wrap-around porch with stunning panoramic views of the island.

The kitchen garden at the Hui

The kitchen garden at the Hui Ho’olana, with a spot for a tired gardener to rest.

The kitchen produces delicious meals, with many of the ingredients harvested from their extensive gardens and fruit trees.  Miles of trails snake down the island, and with a little advance planning you can get an expert massage in one of the yurts nestled in the woods on the hillside.  The Hui recently underwent a major upgrade of the landscaping.

The gardens are filled with textures and colors.

The gardens are filled with textures and colors.

While the plants in tropical gardens are vastly different than their temperate cousins (most are not even the same genera), design and color principles are the same, and year-round interest is the norm.

We don't generally think about large shade trees in the tropics, but they can be just as dramatic as in temperate zones.

We don’t generally think about large shade trees in the tropics, but they can be just as architectural as in temperate zones.

And although we wanted to showcase some of the foliage plants that Jan photographed, we couldn’t resist ending with a more classic Hawaiian shot.  Aloha from Form and Foliage!

Molokai coast

No foliage but lots of form.


Author: jmlecocq

I'm a serial on number ten (if I counted correctly)...among other, a "girl friday" (do they have those anymore???), medical anthropologist, securities analyst, investment banker, CFO, CEO, consultant, Chairman of the Board...and now...writer/photographer. Life is good.

14 thoughts on “Take My Hand, I’m a Stranger in Photographer Paradise

  1. Here is a NEW POST from F&F. I think that they fell behind because they were (playing) instead of (working) and also getting ready for MIDWINTER vacation. This HOT OFF THE PRESS – the post is a novel one, enjoy!

    Nat Boonin 7418 Spring Village Drive, Apt 302 Springfield VA 22150

  2. It’s gorgeous there, i love the bed tucked in the kitchen garden!

  3. Brought back memories when we were in Hawaii and drove out along the road to Hana a few years ago on our 40th Anniv…

    My daughter gave me a Dwarf Mugo Pine that turns golden in the winter time for Christmas and I am beginning to plan my next project in the back yard as I continue on my journey to redo each section of my landscaping to make it easier for me to take care of! (My Dad’s comment when he saw the little pine was…”You should feed that plant some nitrogen!!”

    Love, Me

  4. I so enjoyed your beautiful photos as I’m standing in front of my fireplace waiting for my living room to get warm! Thank you for sharing!

  5. More great pictures.  Thanks!



  6. Thank you, Jan, for a wonderful pictorial journal.

  7. Beautiful!!

  8. Wow! Thank you for sharing these beautiful gardens. I recently visited the island of Kauai and took hundreds of photographs of the blooms and foliage and recently posted some from one of the botanical gardens there ( I am working on another post of just the flowers. Hawaii is such a wonderful and magical paradise for the garden lover and you just brought back some very fond memories! Great and enjoyable post!

  9. Hahaha, well, they aren’t conifers, but they are quite colorful and attractive! And who doesn’t love Hawaii?

  10. Hawaii is wonderful for many mountainous, oceanic and colorful reasons, but most of all because it is incredibly similar topographically to Cuba, which most people do not realize. Jan did a wonderful job of capturing the rich, deep, divergent hues and for a moment her art transported me back to Pinar Del Rio, Cuba where my family lives. When are you going to cover La Perla de las Antillas, just 90 miles South of Key West? The US Department of Treasury would approve your trip for academic educational activities, of course!

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