Since last Friday the Spalding House Café chef Susan Lai Hipp has been able to source local ingredients at a whole new level. The café’s herbs come from how far away these days? Try about 25 yards.
It all started last summer. Museum staff was tossing around an idea to create a garden at Spalding House when, through a series of chance connections, members of the University of Hawai‘i Master Gardeners Program and Honolulu Museum of Art staff met serendipitously for lunch at Spalding House. They chatted, they dreamed, and when lunch was over, the seeds of the garden project had been planted.
Over the next few months Lai Hipp and facilities director Sheryl Kramer met regularly with the Master Gardeners, and the project began to take root. They mapped out the garden’s location, how it would be built and maintained, and what plants would be used. “We brainstormed with Sheryl and Susan to choose plants that complement the café’s menu,” said master gardener Dan Falardeau. “It was a real pleasure getting to know all of the museum staff and creating a garden that is attractive and functional. I look forward to continuing volunteering and growing the garden.”
For the museum staff, the feeling is mutual. “Many hands really do make light work, and many hands contributed to the garden’s beauty and bounty,” said Kramer. “We hope for it to continue as a site for current and future Master Gardener interns in the UH program as well as for our current and future museum volunteers interested in supporting fresh and local at our Spalding House Café.”
Last week’s blessing was appropriately marked with a brief but heavy shower under the sun just before Kramer began the event by thanking all involved.
The museum thanks the many hands involved in helping the garden project grow: Honolulu Museum of Art Friends group President Teri Ogawa-Shiroma; past president Susan Ing; Statewide Coordinator for the University of Hawaii Master Gardener program Jayme Grzebik; Master Gardeners Dan Falardeau, Hitoshi Yoshida, and Aryana Channe; Spalding House Café chef Susan Lai Hipp, Spalding House facilities manager Garry Kaaihue and his crew Jose Oriola, Silvino Sandalo, and Avenio Ingel, and all of the master gardeners, master gardener interns, and museum volunteers that contributed.
See how an unused plot of land turned into a functioning beautiful garden over the past few months below.