Allerton Garden offers incredible beauty

Determined to hear our guide’s presentation, my husband and I jockeyed to close the distance between us. She and the 20 or so others in our group stood enthralled with the object of our attention: a sizable tree graced with green orbs the size of baseballs.

What could they be, I wondered? What exotic fruit dangled from this tree in the Allerton Garden, a National Tropical Botanical Garden on Kauai, Hawaii, the Garden Isle?

“Those are oranges,” our guide explained. “They have yet to ripen.”

I stepped up to take a closer look. They were oranges alright. Just still green in color. We had to laugh at ourselves. Knowing little about tropical plants, my husband and I thought the visit to the garden would introduce us to new, and perhaps exotic, plants as well as provide a learning experience.

And yet, the first tree we saw was an orange tree. To be fair, though, I suppose if I didn’t recognize an orange hanging from a tree, maybe I did have a lot to learn.

Often referred to as one of the wettest places on earth, Kauai boasts an abundance of plant life. Flowering plants thrive. Trees thrive. And Allerton is a not-for-profit garden, chartered in 1964 by the U.S. Congress and dedicated to conservation, education and research of tropical plants.

Our group continued along the path, and our guide continued to stop and describe various plants, blooms and trees. The sheer volume of the variety and of their names. It wasn’t long before we conceded we would unlikely remember any of those names.

Regardless, we were certainly having a learning experience. The garden is lush and abundant with life. It’s stunning, and it’s undeniably unforgettable. Perhaps that was all we needed to focus on.

After walking for some time, our group arrived at a pool adorned with statues. Something, a frog it turns out, created a commotion at the edge of the pool, and our groupmates paused to observe.

Shortly after, our guide continued on through the winding paths, continuing to note the various plants, blooms and trees. And our groupmates dutifully followed, as did we.

At one point, our hike took us through the shade under beautiful canopies of leaves and branches, ultimately leading to a stream of water.

Keeping the group within view, my husband and I wandered over to the water’s edge. Tranquil and serene. Pretty soon, a few others followed. And then a few more. We talked as the rest of the group also arrived at the water.

With my eyes, I followed the water to our left and discovered a huge tree trunk stretched across the path. To our right, the water meandered off into a lush green horizon.

A horizon lined with Moreton Bay fig trees, the ones used in the filming of “Jurassic Park” and “Pirates of the Caribbean.” My husband disappeared in the towering roots. Six-foot roots laced and tangled. And we navigated through them carefully, hoping not to trip.

Never have we ever seen so much incredible beauty in one place. And sometimes it’s enough to acknowledge that, and to simply appreciate it.

(Note: Marjorie Appelman is an English, communications and journalism teacher at Mason County High School and co-founder of the travel blog, Tales from the Trip, which is on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. She can be reached at [email protected].)

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