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W.S. Merwin Passes

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Hillizard

 

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mike in kurtistown

In August 2015, Bill and Paula Merwin welcomed a special visit from the Hawaii Island Palm Society. In two groups, we were given a guided tour of the garden. Then, we gathered on the porch of the little house, where Bill Merwin personally told us the story of how he and Paula came to their land near Haiku, Maui, where the soil was exhausted by a century or more of sugar cane growing, and began its recovery by planting trees, especially palms. Then we went inside a larger building for a meal.

Bill Merwin wasn't a palm collector in the sense that many of us are, wanting as many different species as we can fit on whatever space we have available. Rather, he was more interested in helping the land recover, and many of his palms were of species that would have been familiar in the 1970's and 1980's. But the ones he and Paula planted had become immense by the time of our visit. And he was receiving donations of rarer palms. I recall seeing a Sabinaria seedling in a 2-gal pot.

In their last years, the Merwins created, with state participation, the Merwin Conservancy, which is building its Endowment Fund and seeks to preserve the Merwin palm garden for future generations.

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mike in kurtistown

I have located some pictures of the event described above, the first is of the Merwins, the second shows Bill Merwin talking to HIPS members.

1491466885_WilliamandPaulaMerwinontheirlanai.thumb.jpg.e24495e2391c210b018f8f19491b5b81.jpg

501729748_W.S.MerwintalkingtoHIPS_082215.thumb.JPG.499915fe789507d611f30b151432939b.JPG

 

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MaryLock

Thank you Mike for remembering the visit, in fact I wrote about it in the Hawaii Island Palm Society newsletter that goes out Sunday and even used the same photo! Here is a preview of the article.  It includes an excerpt of an opinion piece written by Hope Jahren, author of Lab Girl who visited the garden when she did an event for The Merwin Conservancy.  There were many lovely tributes, but her understanding about how forests grow made hers especially poignant for me.  

image.png.639ebca6ede688db7f5c150e04b06734.png

image.png.541f464370d027f1cd27cb790fa8f2d1.png

Edited by MaryLock

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bgl

Sad news, indeed, and that visit in August 2015 was very special indeed. Mary. thanks a lot for making that happen. Here's one of the photos I took at the time.

Bo-Göran

DSC_0413.JPG

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