Group operates several Hawaiian gardens

LAWAI, Hawaii -- The National Tropical Botanical Garden, chartered by Congress in 1964, is the nation's only nationally chartered tropical botanical garden.

Besides Limahuli, the privately funded, nonprofit research and preservation group operates four other gardens, including two others on Kauai and one on Maui.

Near Poipu on Kauai's south shore, it runs the 186-acre Lawai Garden in Lawai Valley, its research center and headquarters, and the adjacent 100-acre Allerton Garden.

the visitor center The Allerton Garden, managed for the Allerton Trust, was created in the 1870s, and developed by Robert and John Allerton from the 1930s to the 1960s.

It features landscaped gardens, with tropical plants and trees, pools and fountains.

Guided tours, costing $25 and taking two hours and 30 minutes, include Allerton and the Lawai nursery with its rare and endangered Hawaiian flora.

Visitors are shuttled on the short trip to the gardens from NTBG's visitor center opposite Poipu's Sprouting Horn, a blow hole attraction.

The visitor center, opened early last year, is a remodeled sugar plantation supervisor's home.

It includes a gift shop and displays and is surrounded by plantation gardens.

Tours depart four times a day: 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Tuesdays through Saturdays.

Admission to the center, which is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., is free.

NTBG's 123-acre Kahanu Garden at Hana in East Maui opened to the public for guided walking tours last summer.

The garden, begun by NTBG 25 years ago, specializes in plants of significance in Hawaiian and Polynesian cultures.

It claims the world's largest collection of breadfruit and has extensive collections of native palms, coconut trees, bananas, vanilla and pandanus.

It also is developing a collection of rare and endangered coastal species that grow only on Maui.

Guided tours are offered at Kahanu Mondays through Fridays.

Admission is $10 (children 12 years of age and under are admitted free), and advance reservations are required.

NTBG also operates the nine-acre Kampong Garden in Coconut Grove, Fla., which is also open to the public.

For further information or to make reservations, call Allerton/Lawai at (808) 742-2623 and Kahanu at (808) 248-8912.

NTBG's Web address is www.ntbg.org.

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