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So yesterday I did something that I haven’t done in a long time – I toured a garden. No, I don’t mean that I went to a friend’s house and looked at their flowers, though I do have some friends with great taste and green thumbs. Instead, I went to Limahuli Garden and took a self-guided tour.
Limahuli Garden is one of five National Tropical Botanical Gardens you can visit, and there are three of them on Kauai, which makes sense because of our wet and tropical climate. The other two locations are on Maui and in Florida. I chose Limahuli because it is located on the north shore near Haena Beach and is, therefore, the closest one to where I live.
Self-guided tours of the garden run about $15, which I was happy to pay. I knew that it was too late in the day for a guided tour anyway, and I’ve paid the $30 to listen to the tour guide before. While it was a great experience and I would do it again if I was bringing someone new to the gardens, I just wanted to be alone with my thoughts for a while, surrounded by something beautiful.
On the guided tour, stories and legends are told that bring the Valley and the natural beauty around you to life. Remembering those tales made walking through the garden myself a lot more fun, viewing the lava rock terraces and the Polynesian plants with new eyes. I had brought my story notebook along with me, so I was able to jot down story ideas as they came to me. (I always get ideas when I’m in an enchanting place.) And after a couple of hours, I felt at peace with the world and encouraged by the gracefully sculpted landscaping.
I also learned a few things about visiting one of the National Tropical Botanical Garden spots. First of all, you need good walking shoes. While I enjoyed my visit, I was wearing flip-flops the whole time and my feet hurt a bit by the end. It’s also a good idea to wear long pants to avoid the mosquitoes and a hat for the non-shady areas, though umbrellas are provided free-of-charge by the Visitors Center.