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Places In Oahu: The Wahaiwa Botanical Garden

Basic Information

  • Name: Wahaiwa Botanical Garden
  • Where: Wahaiawa, Oahu
  • Cost: Free
  • More Information: Oahu Trails

Picture from the Wahiawa Botanical Garden

Narrative

While living on Oahu I have been trying to visit all the island’s botanical gardens.  One I recently visited was the Wahaiwa Botanical Gardens located in central Oahu:

The town of Wahaiwa is located outside of the US Army installation, Schofield Barracks.  This has caused the town to have a bad reputation as being a place of tattoo parlors, pawn shops, payday loan lenders and crime.  While driving through the town to the botanical garden I thought the town appeared a bit run down.  That would end being the same impression I would have after my visit to the botanical garden.  At the entrance to the garden there is a small visitor center that was not open.  However, entrance into the garden is free so I walked in and read this sign that explained the history of the garden:

Picture from the Wahiawa Botanical Garden

The Wahiawa Botanical Gardens actually has a pretty long history dating back to the 1920s when the Hawaii Sugar Planters Association leased the property from the State of Hawaii to be used as an experimental arboretum to restore watersheds that were lost due to agriculture.  Today the 27 acre gulch that the garden is located in is lushly vegetated with various species of plants:

Picture from the Wahiawa Botanical Garden

The garden is accessed by a few short sidewalks that descend into the ravine and around its rim:

Picture from the Wahiawa Botanical Garden

As I walked down into the ravine I saw one of the biggest palm trees I have ever seen:

Picture from the Wahiawa Botanical Garden

I also saw plenty of colorful flowers along the trail:

Picture from the Wahiawa Botanical Garden

Picture from the Wahiawa Botanical Garden

This flower along the trail I am not sure what it was, but it had sticky nectar that bugs seemed to really enjoy:

Picture from the Wahiawa Botanical Garden

Unlike other gardens I have been to this one does not have markers that explain what the different plants that can be seen are.  A marker they do have at the bottom of the ravine is one of the ubiquitous flood warning signs that can be seen around Oahu:

Picture from the Wahiawa Botanical Garden

At the bottom of the ravine there was not even any water flowing through it the day I visited, but it is easy to imagine how rains in the nearby Ko’olau Range could cause flash floods here:

Picture from the Wahiawa Botanical Garden

As I walked around the garden something I noticed was that not all the trails are maintained and open to the public:

Picture from the Wahiawa Botanical Garden

Due to the stairs being out of service I had to retrace my route back up to the top of the ravine.  From there I walked around and saw many of the very large eucalyptus trees that can seen:

Picture from the Wahiawa Botanical Garden

Conclusion

Overall I found the Wahiawa Botanical Gardens to be a bit rundown just like the town.  However, it would not take much to improve the park and hopefully one day it will.  As it is the Wahiawa Botanical Garden is by no means a must visit location on the island, but it is a nice park for the people who live in Wahiawa.

Note: More Oahu trail information can be read in the below book:

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