Mary Philpotts McGrath: Make landscaping part of Hawaii’s sense of place
By Mary Philpotts McGrath, PBN Contributor
Pacific Business News has been the voice of business in Hawaii for 50 years. Business leaders and PBN have co-witnessed the onslaught of changes in lifestyle, density, construction, tourism, traffic and an elevated-rail system.
“A sense of place” is now an overused phrase in environmental discussions, lectures, editorials, and political campaigns as we continually voice concern for our environment.
When I ask myself, “What can we do?” the answer is always: “Increase landscaping!”
Our green landscape is disappearing and there is only minimal restitution. Even the high-rise roof gardens have given way to solar panel installations.
The visual impact of concrete is ever increasing. For instance, how and why have newly constructed and monumental buildings been built without a landscape setback?
Throughout Honolulu there are increasing greenscape voids where concrete monolithic structures and inappropriate signage are offensive to the environment.
It is my hope that Pacific Business News will, for the next 50 years, be a strong and vocal leader in a campaign to maintain our environmental balance.
We can, together, with arboretums and the city and county staff, enhance and balance the construction impact on our landscape and create a memorable greenscape in Honolulu.
If you doubt me, stop and reflect on the gold trees and shower trees in bloom every year and the joy they bring to us.
If you think it’s too late, drive by 1122 Banyan on Palama Street off King Street, and marvel at the apartment building’s living green façade!
Another dynamic example is the planting on 1224 Maunakea St. By raising the planter three to four feet, the landscape has far more impact in screening the building and lessening loitering. TheHawaii Convention Centerhas also utilized raised planting effectively.
For a San Francisco native raised in the chilly, foggy Avenues, something close to heaven appeared decades ago off the bow of the SS Lurline, a posh Matson line steamer on the San Francisco-to-Honolulu run.
Hawaii - sunny with beaches of white sand lapped by water so welcoming a boy could swim year-round. Both grandmothers might be San Francisco natives, but Hawaii was his special place, a revelation where warmth caressed his soul.
Thus began a lifelong love affair with the islands. Throughout marriage and a move to sunny, warm Marin County to raise three daughters, the visits to Hawaii continued. Hawaii was not only his place; it was their place, the place outside the Bay Area.
And as retirement approached, the stars aligned when the couple spotted an advertisement for oceanfront property on Lanai in the Wall Street Journal. "We'd been there, and we'd seen it," said the boy's wife, a Larkspur native, who, like her husband, prefers to remain anonymous to protect the family's privacy. "We knew it was hard to find property on the water, so we thought we'll go and see what they had."
The let's-check-it-out trip turned into a let's-write-a-check moment as the Pacific Ocean provided a sparkling backdrop for views of Kahoolawe and the Big Island.
That was 1997. Today, the kid describes himself and his wife as "grandparent-type people," and the couple's second home on Lanai epitomizes the easy, unforced fusion of indoor and outdoor, Eastern and Western sensibilities that are the hallmark of Hawaiian style.
The Juror's awards are posted for the 2012 Pastel Artists of Hawaii show. Teri Ford, PSA, stated, "The overall body of work depicts what I perceive as a great love of place. A passion for the local surroundings, landscape and culture are evident." Stop in to see the show any day except Sunday through December 7th.
Terri also conducted a four day workshop in which she demonstrated her technique of using "dark" backgrounds applied with an alcohol wash over pastel.
Please enjoy our experience through these photographs.
Pastel Paintings have a long history in the western world and I have seen the most beautiful pastel portraits and landscapes in European manors and palaces. They are radiant and have stood the test of time. There is a soft glow to the media which cannot be achieved with oils and acrylics. The island scenics in this show are plentiful and capture delicate fleeting moments exclusive to Hawaii. I have overseen the installation and staged each grouping with accessories unique to PLACE.
Please make a reservation if you would like to stop in tomorrow, Saturday, November 10th between 6-8pm for wine, pupus and to meet the artists. If not, come by any day except Sunday through December 7th.