Former senator showcases Kaneohe garden

KANEOHE, Oahu -- Ninety-three-year-old Hiram Fong attributes part of his longevity to working in his garden.

Also known as Sen. Fong, the first Asian-American to serve in the U.S. Senate, he is owner of Senator Fong's Plantation and Gardens, a 725-acre oasis of greenery.

The gardens are filled with colorful flowers along with a beautiful view of Kaneohe Bay. In addition, there are rainforest, fruit, pine and sandalwood trees.

Fong started planting trees and tropical flowers on a piece of land overlooking Kaneohe Bay in 1950 and soon bought more and more land for the task.

Today, the man who served in the Senate from 1959 to 1977 still comes to work every day, greeting visitors and planting.

The plantation, open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., offers narrated tours at $10 for adults and $6 for children.

Tours run at 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., and at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.

The plantation is divided into five areas, all named after presidents who held office during Fong's Senate tenure.

There are Eisenhower Plateau (plants and flowers), Kennedy Valley (heleconia and ginger plants, and rainforest, palm and lychee trees), Johnson Plateau (exotic fruit trees), Nixon Valley (sandalwood trees and pineapple) and Ford Plateau (pine trees).

The plantation is on the windward, or eastern, side of Oahu. It's about a 45-minute drive from the hotels of Waikiki.

For details, call Senator Fong's Plantation and Gardens at (808) 239-6775.

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