A Passion for Maui and making every day a work of art

Hawaiian Plants

Seeds of Native Fan Palm

Just playing around with hipstomatic app on my iPhone…

What is so cool is that when you shake the phone, a different lense and film effect takes place. You never know what you’re going to get. I like that element of surprise. Great fun.


Big Pink Triple Hibiscus

This ruffly beautiful hibiscus is just one of the beautiful sights I saw today on my walk through my Up-Country Maui neighborhood. Walking two miles along the slopes of Haleakala feels fabulous.

Royal Poinciana in Bloom

Sent from my iPhone

Marilyn Jansen Lopes

Gardening is Good For The Soul

Have you ever been homesick? If so, you know the ache that comes with a longing for home. Anything can trigger a memory that is fond to us. While watering in my garden or weeding sometimes, though it is extremely beautiful here on Maui, I am always taken back to my previous gardens in California. The scent of basil takes me to Topanga, California where I see a dusty hill and rugged Oak trees in the Canyon thinking of my little old dog Blackie who used to go everywhere with me. Then I’m led to memories of Sassafrass Nursery where I learned all about plants. The first day in the nursery Pamela the owner took me all throughout and had me name the plants I knew by heart. She was impressed. I am self-taught from visiting nurseries and experimenting all my life.

Dinnerplate Dahlias

I began in my twenties planting gardens in Sun Valley, California, Malibu, Topanga, Pine Mountain Club, California and then Hawaii. Everywhere I have lived came a burning desire to plant. I have to dig in the earth and plant beautiful things. I love herbs and pansies, violas, johnny-jumpups, lobelia, cosmos, sunflowers, zinnias and bulbs like dahlias, irises, daffodils, ranunculas, anemones, ixias and tulips. In Hawaii I plant dahlias among my herbs and green onions, thyme and gingers. They become huge blooms I mix with tropical bouquets of other scented spider lilies and gardenias.

                                                                      Lilikoi Vines

Here I am writing about the plants I love while dreaming of California gardens.

I have come full circle in beautiful Maui where all year long I can plant my orchids, native ferns and I totally enjoy having bananas growing in my path and papayas, a yard full of house plants. But at times I long for the cold weather different types of flowers that love the mountains of The Los Padres National Forest (my real home where my roots are)…my poppies that reseed themselves on my property there, the yarrow that has gone native, the penstemmons and lupine, the lilacs and pine trees, sagebrush and hollyhocks are so nostalgic and country and I think of quilting and baking pies and all the things that make me feel happy like taking care of my family there, too. I miss my house and my mom and sister and the mountains. The quiet nights, the crickets, the wind in the poplars are memories so sweet in my heart. A good smoky fire in my BBQ in the back yard. I love to burn wood and sing my camp songs til after dark… Well all these memories just from watering and weeding in my Maui garden.

Heavenly Blue Morning Gories

Gardening is a joy, and weeds are a chore, but so enriching to my soul as I wait for the tiny lettuce leaves to emerge, and wait for the peas to sprout and the dahlias to shoot. The cosmos are two inches tall and by summer will be three feet high. My tomatoes are taking off. Sweet basils are scattered throughout to ward off tomato worms. It works every time. Someday I’ll be back planting in California, but for now I will just have to enjoy Maui, Hawaii. Pink plumerias coming soon and lilikoi vines to pick all summer for jam & jelly and juice for months.

So, I’m home in my spirit but here on Maui and gardening is healing to my soul and spirit.

My new garden is coming along with lots of vegetables and  flowers so I will keep you posted soon.

Marilyn Jansen Lopes

Author of Amaryllis, Amaryllis, How Does Your Garden Grow? “Organically Of Course!”


What are you growing? A kitchen garden, window boxes with herbs and potted plants, tomatoes?

All photos are by Marilyn Jansen Lopes and photos of others are posted with their permission.I have received no compensation to mention products or companies on my blog.

Up-Country Maui Day!

Tall grasses swaying in the wind.
Breezes that blow softly on my skin.
Quietness that calms me
Birds to cheer me
Words that soothe
Thoughts to uplift when friends are feeling down
I pray for their happiness
when I am unable to console
God is the one
Who brings me joy!
I discovered gardening when I was 25 years old. I was taking care of my sister Pamela Jansen who had been in a major car accident in 1978. We lived at our parents small home in the San Fernando Valley of California. Pamela had been in a coma for over 5 1/2 weeks and when she awoke there were years of recovery. Life became very precious to me when I nearly lost my sister. I was still searching for my happiness at that time, but found great joy in planting and designing my first garden.
Now, over thirty years later, I am still planting and discovering something new all the time. I wrote a book about my love for planting organically called Amaryllis, Amaryllis How Does Your Garden Grow? “Organically, Of Course!”

I write about all my favorite plants, how to compost, how to plant bulbs, native plants, roses, and designing your first garden.
Up-Country Maui is an amazing place to garden. Cool nights and sunny days nearly year round are perfect for planting. The famous sweet Maui Onions are grown Up-Country Maui on the slopes of Haleakala. Many flowers flourish on the mountain. The Giant Proteas originally from Africa are right at home on Maui. Even many of my favorite plants from the mainland love it up here, like my heavenly blue morning glories above and my favorite dahlias below.
My lilikoi vines are full of passionfruit!
I love to plant Basil and all kinds of herbs to use in my cooking. I have Thai Basil, Italian Basil, cinnamon basil sometimes, sage, rosemary, oregano, dill, varieties of thyme, and Hawaiian hot chile peppers that have re-seeded themselves.

This was taken before the lilikoi had ripened, but now they are falling off the vine daily. So I’m making lots of lilikoi “passion-fruit” jelly!
Beautiful Native ferns.
Just a short post today, but a reminder to do something that you love. This will help you find your passion in life and bring great joy to yourself and others.
– Marilyn
The Artful Hawaiigirl

A visit to Lahaina, Maui

    On Sunday, we decided to take our first trip to Lahaina in over one year.
We live up-country on Maui and rarely travel out of our five mile radius, except on weekends to get to the beach in Kihei or Wailea. I also love the pond (Baby Beach) on our North Shore.
  The reason for our journey was to see a friend who is moving to the mainland. I decided to photograph from the moving vehicle as we proceeded down the mountain.
As you can see it is a pretty rugged landscape as we approach Lahaina. 
I love to see the terrain change on the dry side of our islands.

As we get closer to Olowalu market I remember how I would always stop for a manapua, and can of iced Hawaiian coffee and a cone sushi here.
  We reach Lahaina and park at the end of town so we can walk under the Banyan tree to see all the artists presenting their work.
  I see my friend Veena who loves to buy my hand-painted shirts, selling her beautiful glass jewelry. We take a few photos then she whisks me off to meet her friends of The Lahaina Art Society. She insists that I should join. I can’t sell T-shirts, but I can sell paintings. So, I thank her and consider this for the future. Then it’s off to my friend Joanna’s to see her beautiful place before she moves off to the mainland.
   Let’s talk about plants. I’m not going to name them here but as you can see this property that Joanna’s step dad had built and maintained for the last ten years along with Joanna, her mother Rosina and a full time female gardener who tends the plants 5 day a week for 6 hours a day, is a work of art.   
 Each Pole cottage is open to the air and they are all connected via a series of pathways which are tiled creatively. Focal points of gardens with sculptures, or benches, bricks and stones line each little plant garden.
A real Italian Fountain.
Asian Beauty.
A touch of Tao.
A fish fountain.
Foxtail fern.
Joanna gave me some gardenias that were in her vase. She said “These are for you.”
Thanks for a lovely day.
I realized what a short distance it is to Lahaina.
And a beautiful drive home!
Thanks, Joanna for being my friend!
   Joanna has been coming to Ben Franklin Crafts to paint on tees in the watercolor style for over three years with me. It has been a wonderful experience getting to know Joanna and her 85 year old mother Rosina who loves to paint on tees too! I will miss her.
If you’d like to come paint with me at Ben Franklin Crafts, call 808 877-3337 to see the schedule and sign up for a class.
Also check out http://www.amaryllisofhawaii.com/ for scheduling, supplies and the map.