On September 10th MALP members were treated to a tour of the Dr. Angela Kepler and Frank Rust’s spectacular Estate/farm on an ocean cliff in East Maui. Because of the large variety of edibles it could be considered a farm except that the arrangement of the plantings are so highly aesthetically pleasing and artful.
Her supreme botanical knowledge, which she eagerly shared, and the wide variety of rare plants from all over the tropical world provided lesson after lesson for even the most experienced horticulturalists who made up the majority of the small group in attendance.
The tour itself would, with Dr. Kepler as guide, would have been enjoyable and educational on its own but she wasn’t content with just showing her collection, rather she challenged the group to take cuttings, seeds, plant keiki of all types and expand the collective knowledge of where else these interesting and beneficial plants could thrive on Maui. So our group witnessed Dr. Kepler harvesting plant material with a shovel, sickle, even climbing trees (all while barefoot)
then bagging and labeling the specimens so that the plant names wouldn’t get mixed up.
The environment itself is a tribute to her nurturing organic practices. No whitefly, no mosquitoes, and the only use of poison was pointed out in a protected rat bait station. Everything else green and flourishing from persistently using common sense and lots of mulch. The group was treated to the blood curdling account of her eradicating African snails, going after them after dark and assassinating them one by one ninja like.
Frank Rust, Angela’s husband explained that, improbable as it seems considering the excellent condition of the estate, Angela equally divides her time between the garden and writing. Author of 18 books including, with Frank, the magnificent The World of Bananas in Hawaii: Then and Now. Her latest project is a book on Polynesian fishing canoes the research for is from her extensive library of material shes collected during her life as scientist with some help from NASA who are providing satellite photos.
Thank you Dr. Kepler for the enjoyable, educational and inspirational experience and for the wonderful hospitality.