Garden Photo of the Day

David’s veggie, fruit, and herb garden in Hawaii

Borage with pineapple sage. Photo/Illustration: All photos courtesy of David Bengharib

We’re crossing another state off our list today as we visit David Bengharib’s vegetable garden in Hawaii. David says, “Aloha, I saw you were looking for pictures from Hawai’i and have included some of my garden I started last August.
This is the evolution of the herb and vegetable garden over a 10 month period (starting with the 2nd month) from just weeds, rocks, and concrete to a garden split into different ethnobotanical sections.

“Each square had edible plants from a certain part of the world or ethnobotanical tradition. All plants in the garden are edible with several purely medicinal exceptions. My friend and I allowed the plants to grow together as this greatly reduced the need to water.

“The final count of plants in the garden consisted of close to 200 species and varieties of edible and medicinal plants. The accompanying container orchard had over 100 varieties of fruiting plants and a number of temperate plants that I was testing in this tropical climate.”

Wow, David, that’s such an interesting concept for a veg garden. I absolutely love it!

Mustard greens flowering in the south and southeast Asian section with edible cosmos, green onions, vietnamese

——Winter is the perfect time to take a photographic stroll through the photos you took in your garden this year……and then send some in to me at [email protected]!

Selection of dwarf low-chill temperate fruiting plants including apples, plums, cherried and wine grapes
Lemon verbena, an Iberian species of lavender and 2 species of middle eastern mints
Species of lavender from Madeira and North Africa with feverfew
Turkish variety of fig
Flowers of borage
Flowers of tzimbalo, a groundcherry and tomato relative with edible fruit

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  1. wGardens 01/20/2014

    What a great project... and with superb results in one season. Congratulations on your fine successes. Loved the photos, especially the ones with the borage and fruiting plants. Thanks for sharing!

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    meander_michaele 01/20/2014

    Definitely impressive, David...I guess veggie/fruit gardening in Hawaii takes place all year long. Is there a particular month that is considered best for starting seeds or putting in starter plants? Borage has such interesting flowers in such a lovely shade of blue....warning...ignorance about to be borage edible or just medicinal?

  3. mainer59 01/20/2014

    This is really interesting. Will you be using these plants for food and medicine? I recognize a lot from the Mediterranean. Are they just the more photogenic ones? I have borage on my list for this summer. A friend has it as part of her ornamental garden.

  4. GardenGrl1 01/20/2014

    Awesome project! I love the organization, with the ethnobotanicals (have to add that word to conversation at some point today!) and medicinals! Do you have an online source for your Middle Eastern plants & exotics? If so, please share! Thanks for the photos, I look forward to seeing more!

    Just a note to Borage newbies: I'm in zone 5. I started 3 borage plants 2 years ago. Without additional planting, I had an entire 2 foot area of Borage last year. Self-seeds readily & enthusiastically!

    Meander1, the flowers taste like cucumber, and are said to give courage. I do not eat the leaves, though they too are said to be edible. They have tiny hairs on them that I just can't get myself to eat. :-)

  5. greengenes 01/20/2014

    Well done David! As I was going over your pics I could almost smell all of the different kinds of herbs! Love the layout with the cement. Its amazing you can grow anything down there! Here in Washington state iam always looking for plants that give a tropical look with the big lush leaves and all. Have your apples ever produced? And the fig tree would be wonderful to have in a back yard! I had one, a green fig and I was trying to keep it small by pruning and I got carried away and ended up killing it. oh well...well happy gardening in Hawaii! Iam going to visit there some day! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Barb_J 01/20/2014

    Borage is used too improve the skin. You can find some moisturizers that contain it.

  7. tractor1 01/20/2014

    Very interesting, but not at all what I expected of a Hawaiian garden... where are all the lush orchids, pineapples, and coconut trees? Hawaii is the only state I've never visited, I suppose it's not all like the travelogues. I'd like to see more photos of David's garden, with better labeling.

  8. sheila_schultz 01/20/2014

    Just beautiful, David. The fragrances as you walk through the gardens must be heavenly.

  9. GrannyMay 01/20/2014

    Fascinating idea for a herb and vegetable garden David! Obviously everything is thriving, so you must be pleased with the results. I am so, so curious. What is your purpose in separating the plants along ethnobotanical lines? And what answers did this experiment give you? Thanks for widening our gardening horizons!

  10. quinquek 01/20/2014

    What a job, starting with weeds, rocks, and concrete, to create such a lovely space in such a short time. And everything looks like it's thriving! I'd love to know the specific names of some of your herbs, like the lavender. Re. Borage, which I know is supposed to behave as it did with GardenGrl1, I planted it 2 years ago, lovely plant (but small) and I never saw it or any of it's offspring again! On the list again for this year. Perhaps I weeded it up in the early spring.

  11. user-1020932 01/20/2014

    my first look at a Hawaii garden that isn't the tropical wonders we are familiar with. i like it a lot and i'm happy to see food/herb production in a state that can grow so much but that i've seen so little of. thanks!

  12. GrannyCC 01/20/2014

    Very interesting way of designing a vegetable and herb garden. The plants look so healthy so I am sure you will have a good crop. You must like to cook as you have all those herbs. Do you dry them for later use?

  13. NevadaSue 01/20/2014

    What a great job Dave. Lots of work but the results are wonderful. I bet it is a feast for the senses as you walk through your garden. So glad you shared with us. You inspire me to put more edibles in my garden.

  14. Aarchman07030 01/20/2014

    Borage leaves are also used by purists as the garnish in a Pimm's Cup cocktail--Pimm's No. 1 liqueur + lemonade or ginger ale--although generally one finds cucumber slices or peels have used instead. Presumably not at David's house.

  15. cwheat000 01/20/2014

    With so many planting options, it is amazing we have not heard from Hawaii before. Thank you David. It sounds like you have an amazing variety of plants. I wouldn't ask you to list all 300, but what are some of your favorite uncommon ones? Some of my favorite new tries include toothache plant(Splithanthes) ( it really numbs your mouth)and Vietnamese coriander( tastes like cilantro without bolting).Do you grow anything common like tomatoes? Also, how big is your space? You have put borage on my things to try list. I have heard it improves the flavor of tomatoes and helps prevent tomato hornworms if grown near your tomatoes.Thanks to Aarchman07030, it now sounds like it makes a splendid cocktail, as well.

  16. janetsfolly 01/20/2014

    This garden is so cool! I love that you are pushing the zone envelope in so many different directions. I love the lemon verbena in bloom. My growing season, zone 5, isn't long enough for mine to bloom but I have a pot every year and dry leaves for many uses. Do the bees come to your borage in droves? So many questions, such a bountiful garden!

  17. arthurb3 01/21/2014


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