Haleakala is a massive shield volcano that forms more than three-quarters of Maui Island in Hawaii. Its name means “house of the sun.” Legend says that demigod Maui lassoed the sun from this mountain because he wanted to lengthen the day so that his mother Hina could dry her tapa, a cloth made from bark. If you’ve ever witnessed a sunrise from its peak of 10,000 feet, when the sun pushes the black night into the heavens for a time, you will understand its name.
The road leading to top of Haleakala traverses through Kula on the eastern slope of this spectacular mountain. Kekaulike Avenue is narrow and winding and its landscape is a stark contrast to the dry, barren volcanic crater. Upper Kula, or Upcountry as it is commonly called, is punctuated by rolling grassy hills, scented by groves of silver eucalyptus trees and, in late spring, graced by the blue flowers of jacaranda trees.
And, as if the overall grandeur is not enough to impress you, vegetable and flower farms entice you on your journey up the mountain.
The Kula Botanical Garden is a such a jewel. It is at 3,300 feet above sea level and enjoys a dry temperate climate.
Its owners, Warren and Helen McCord, initially established this area in 1968 as a display garden for Warren’s landscape architecture business. In time, the McCords transformed these eight acres into a tropical Shangri-la, with colorful and unique plants, rock formations, and the quintessential stream that meanders through the valley. This labor of love continues to operate as a family business and delights residents and visitors alike.
Mahalo (thank you) to the McCords!
You can learn more about Kula Botanical Garden at kulabotanicalgarden.com
A note on the photos: All are mine except the photo of Haleakala and the sign for the garden (on the garden’s website).