United States of America, Hawaii, Honolulu County, Honolulu
Dowsett Garden (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Although it is less than one-quarter acre the Dowsett Garden combines aspects of a 19th century plantation garden and Asian influences and artifacts, particularly from Bali. Behind eight-foot tall hau hedges there is a small plantation-style house and cottage, tropical trees and plants that were used for food, medicine, and building materials by early Hawaiians, and ornamental beds with traditional lava rock edging. The garden is designed for outdoor entertaining and relaxation with features including an outdoor shower, a small Hindu temple, heads of Bodhisattvas on a fence, ceramic food storage jars containing plants, ornamental spheres, carved screens partially enclosing the back porch, gongs, and unusual rocks.
Some of the native plants in the Dowsett Garden had spiritual significance for the early Hawaiians, including the kukui tree, whose polished nuts were worn only by chiefs and the red tiplant whose leaves could be worn only by chiefs and high priests. Every plant had a practical use as well: the silk from hapu'u tree fern was used to embalm royalty and to stuff mattresses; kukui nut oil was used for lamps, waterproofing and to treat skin conditions including baldness; and leaves from the red tiplant are still used for skirts and leis, to bring good luck and to mark property lines. Breadfruit, brought originally from the Marquesas, exudes latex that was used to catch birds. Hau brought from Polynesia provided wood for canoes, fishing implements and tools, and bast fibers for netting, ropes and sewing. The buds and flowers had medicinal uses. Laua'e ferns were used for leis, while the hala tree provided food, wood and weaving material for hats, mats and roofs.
Persons associated with the garden include: Lois Nottage and Jean Thomas (garden designers).