The Garden of Eden Arboretum is the vision and creation of Alan Bradbury, Maui’s first ISA certified arborist and life long landscape designer. Development of this special north shore rainforest property began in 1991 and opened to the public in 1996. In 1995, the developing park received recognition from the State of Hawai’i for diligent conservation practices and proper land use and development techniques. We have tried to set an example wherever possible. We use no pesticides and are almost entirely herbicide free, the exception being for the control of highly invasive non-native species.
Our goal is to help restore natural ecosystems and promote Hawai’i’s native and indigenous species. We being artists and not purists, also feature many exotic plants and trees from all over the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Currently we feature over 700 botanically labeled specimens, some of which were donated by George Harrison of The Beatles. George was a North Shore neighbor and a devoted plant enthusiast.
Throughout the park, utmost thought and care has been taken in developing each trail (2.5 miles in total), improvement, and planting to assure the most natural enhancement of this uniquely beautiful Hana District property.
This “beautification project” was developed entirely out of pocket, there has never been any State or Federal funding of any kind. To this day, it is your entrance fee that supports the 15+ people it takes to maintain and operate this park. For this, we thank each and every one of our visitors. You are supporting our dedicated and highly skilled staff as well as the local economy. We donate a portion of our profits to several effective environmental organizations. Additionally, we also donate several thousand dollars worth of plant cuttings on an annual basis to our local schools. These cuttings are used for fundraisers to support their gardening programs.
Originally this land was purchased with the intent of developing a recording studio retreat facility (reference Media to learn more about Alan Bradbury’s music). A place where musicians could come, relax, and wander between recording sessions. It did not take long to realize that the amount of salt in the air along with high humidity would have a detrimental effect on the recording equipment. Seeing tools rust overnight, and other electronics fail prematurely, it was determined that this land must be used for another purpose. At this point, owner Alan Bradbury already had a history of developing parks and recreational areas (including Telluride, Colorado’s Municipal Park), and noticed that every time the front gate was left open, curious tourists would drive in. One day a sign was put out front as an experiment, although meager at first, people came in. Numbers improved with time, but it took nearly 10 years before any profit was actually realized. Up until that time, every dollar earned went back into developing the grounds, rain shelters, and trails. In the formative years, the biggest expense was gravel and road base, only to have one heavy rainfall wash it all away. It staggers the mind to know how much gravel it took to stabilize the roads, trails, and parking areas here in this rain forest environment. In the beginning, there were no roads, trails, buildings, or exotic plantings, just dense highly invasive jungle. You could not see the ocean or even walk without a machete to clear a trail.
About the name . . . in Alan’s words
I would not have been brave enough to use the name Garden of Eden. It did seem however, that whenever anyone came by in those early years, they would all say this was literally like being in the Garden of Eden. Originally, we were called “Pua Nani” (Flower from Heaven) Tree Farm. So many people began using the Garden of Eden name that it stuck. With the addition of ‘arboretum’, the name was born.
I am filled with gratitude to so many who have vested there time and love into this land. Each person added his or her own special little sparkle to the overall picture. What you see here today is a combination of nearly 25 years of devoted work and dedication. While my friends were at the beach or happy hour, we were out here manifesting our vision. A quote that resonated with me was “seldom does one fail, many just give up.” This park is an example of the one step at a time process to fulfillment through working in harmony with this precious and most bountiful and giving planet.
There should be many Garden of Eden’s throughout the world. Be it in your back yard or community park, we should, in our own way, each do our part in caring for, and protecting this beautiful creation known as Planet Earth.
Become part of the cure; each one of us can make a difference, one step at a time. Consume wisely, vote with your dollars by supporting sustainable farming and industry. Don’t buy junk, be it food or product. Recycle and minimize waste. Install solar, and minimize your personal energy consumption. Contact local representatives and support proper decisions. Teach our children through example, through proper thought and action. By doing so, we can all live in a world-wide Eden through proper thought and action. It starts within your heart. May yours shine brightly.