The Hana Gardenland property was established in the 1970s when the Hana Agricultural Park parcels were created. The first owners were a couple that traveled the world, collecting a wide variety of palm tree seeds they planted at Gardenland for their ‘love garden’. Today there are 80 species of mature palms, one of the largest collections on Maui. Hana Gardenland became the first certified nursery on Maui.
In the 1990s, the next owners were Blair and Tom, and with exquisite taste planted many exotic varieties of flowering ornamentals and fruit trees, creating a tropical botanical estate. They expanded the nursery operation into a café and gift shop for locals and travelers, becoming a popular destination for fresh locavore food, art, music, entertainment, orchids and weddings. During First Lady Hillary Clinton’s visit to Hana, staying at the exclusive Hotel Hana Maui, we were told they went to Gardenland Café almost every day for lunch with her daughter Chelsea and friends. Blair and Tom split up, Blair moved back to California, and the café closed by the end of the 1990s.
The property was bought by the current owners Robert & Devi in 2001. In the following years, Robert restored the botanical gardens by removing invasive tree species that had grown up crowding the ornamentals. The meandering grassy pathways through the gardens and lawns re-opened, plants and trees labeled and a section of the 5+ acres was recovered from jungle for a new orchard of tropical fruit trees.
Devi put in a fun gift and clothing shop which for a time was run by a local Hawaiian woman and her mom. And for some years when Devi was back in California running her other shops and helping out family members, the shop operated on the honor system. Women would shop and leave money or trade. And when Devi was in town she would host parties in the outside space of the café and clothing sales in the connected shop. As Devi got busier in the Bay Area of California, her trips to Hana became few and far between.
Robert continued to take care of the land and the houses were rented as vacation rentals. In 2014, Hana Gardenland became one of the first short term rentals in Hana to be legally permitted by Maui under new county regulations. The Garden House with two stories and five bedrooms is a large accommodation compared to many rentals in Hana, and is an attractive venue for large families with children and retreat groups. The websites hanagardenland.com and hanapalmsretreat.com showcase the offerings of the property.
Time to let the next Stewards in…