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Johnson Nuuanu Garden, 2010

Former owner:
Hite, Charles
Landscape architect:
Ives, A. E
Stringer, David
Landscape designer:
Mechler, Stephen F.
Garden Club of Honolulu
Physical description:
1 folder+ 15 digital images
Mixed archival materials
United States of America, Hawaii, Honolulu County, Honolulu
Johnson Nuuanu Garden (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Located on one acre on the island of O'ahu, Johnson Nuuanu garden is rich with the history of Hawaii. Originally designed by Albert Ives in 1941 for the then Attorney General for the Territory of Hawaii, Charles Hite, this garden offers sweeping views of the Ko'olau Mountains where King Kamehameha's final battle was fought in 1795 to establish his kingdom and where the Hawaiian alii (aristocracy) had their homes. This exceptional Hawaiian rain forest garden includes towering native kukui and kamani trees, tree ferns, bananas, gingers, orchids and anthuriums. Mr. Ives was inspired by the articulated horizontal limbs of the kamani trees and designed the house and gardens around them. Coral slabs that were constructed from surplus coral rock which definition to the paths and plantings. They are also used as a low wall on the orth side of the property and edge the brick terrace and form a bench where topped with cement.
The property fell into disrepair after standing vacant for several years before the new owners completely renovated the garden and home in 1987. Hawaii architect David Stringer remodeled the home and landscape designer Steve Mechler renovated and replanted the gardens. Additional plantings that were introduced included tree ferns, orchids, ginger, anthuriums, bromeliads, agapanthus, palms and numerous varieties of ti plants. He added numerous water features along the terraces and lanai as well as eucalyptus, lychee, avocado, palms, plumeria and cedar trees. These changes added tranquility, shade and fragrance to the terraces and lanai.
The architecture of the home is traditional island style with large windows, sloping roof lines and sliding doors that take advantage of the cool valley trade winds, merging indoor and outdoor living. Rainfall in Nu'uanu Valley averages 80-100 inches annually keeping the tropical plantings and spacious lawns lush. The living and dining rooms open up to a large red brick spacious lanai and open terrace above a sweeping lawn surrounded with tropical ferns, palms, banana trees and an unobstructed view of the towering Ko'olau Mountains. This unique and tranquil setting is enjoyed by family and friends for celebrations plus generously shared by the owners for various functions and garden tours.
Persons associated with the garden include A.E. Ives (landscape architect) 1941, David Stringer (architect, ca. 1987), Stephen F. Mechler (landscape designer, ca. 1987) and Charles Hite (former owner, 1941).
The folder includes worksheets, photocopies of articles, and other information.
This property is featured in "Gardens: Private and Personal" by Bonnie Martin
Local number:
Data Source:
Archives of American Gardens

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