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Visit Us

TUESDAYS 9 am - 12 noon

THURSDAYS 9 am - 12 noon

at the Kona CES Office

79-7381 Mamalahoa Hwy.

in Kainaliu (across from Aloha Theater)

Phone: (808) 322-4892

West Hawai'i Master Gardener Coordinator

Ty McDonald

Ty McDonald

Kona CES Office

79-7381 Hawaii Belt Road
Kealakekua, HI 96750-7911

Phone: (808) 322-4884
Fax: (808) 322-4895


West Hawaii Master Gardeners

West Hawaiʻi Master Gardener Program

Our Mission

To provide information to the public about home gardening using science-based research and to offer continuous educational opportunities for University of Hawaiʻi trained Master Gardeners.

West Hawaiʻi Master Gardener Projects

West Hawaiʻi Master Gardeners Greenhouse and Demonstration Garden and Orchard

West Hawaiʻi Master Gardeners are now developing a Demonstration Orchard along with our Demonstration Garden.

Led by Master Gardener Ed, the team is developing the Demonstration Garden to showcase plants grown from University of Hawaiʻi (UH) seeds.  The area has been cleared of weed plants/trees and stumps.  There are already several mature fruit trees in the area, including several coffee trees and a carambola (starfruit) tree. The group harvested coffee through the season, then strip-picked the trees.  We are currently developing plans for adding additional trees to the Demonstration Orchard, including several cacao trees.

Greenhouse activities include planting the UH seeds for the Demonstration Garden and propagating vanilla orchid plants.  An automatic solar-powered watering system has been installed.

Our 2017 Master Gardener Trainees are actively involved with the Demonstration Garden and Orchard.  New to our MG Training Program this year is a class devoted to Master Gardeners teaching the Trainees about our Surinam Cherry Orchard, Demonstration Garden and Orchard.

West Hawaii MG greenhouse crew!

Collaboration with Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC)

West Hawaiʻi Master Gardeners attended the workshop training presented by BIISC and Plant Pono and are participating in local nursery surveys.  The purpose of the surveys is to recognize exemplary nurseries who voluntarily act to protect their nursery and their community from the threat of invasive species. We are utilizing a notebook with illustrations and information about highly invasive plants on the Big Island for teaching during our outreaches and Helpline.  We are also reaching out to the public about highly invasive plants through our Facebook page

Surinam Cherry Research Project

Data analysis of our collected data identified best and worst performers in the Surinam Cherry Orchard. Flowering and fruiting patterns of the various trees were also identified. Meanwhile, we continue our orchard maintenance and fruit collection for this research project. We plan to utilize the Surinam Cherry orchard during our 2017 Master Gardener Volunteer Training Program for our pruning workshop.

Surinam cherry project kick-off.

Vanilla Orchid Project

West Hawaiʻi Master Gardeners are growing vanilla orchids in our greenhouse. The Vanilla Orchid Team pollinate the orchids as they bloom, fertilize the plants, harvest and process the vanilla beans, and divide the plants as necessary. We sell some of the vanilla orchid plants at our outreach events.

West Hawaii gardeners on tour.

West Hawaiʻi Master Gardener Tours

West Hawaiʻi Master Gardeners regularly participate in tours of areas of interest to home gardeners. Recent tours have included Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, Big Island Bees and Hawaiian Vanilla Company.

Interested in Becoming a Master Gardener?

Each person enrolling in the Master Gardener Program commits to completing 45 hours of instruction, a Midterm and Final Exam, plus 40 hours of volunteer service within 12 months of completing the Master Gardener instruction. To continue being Certified as a Master Gardener, on-going service of 30 hours of volunteer time is required every year.

Classes are held at The Kona Cooperative Extension Service office in Kainaliu, with field trips and workshops in the area. The next Program will be held for 3 hours every Tuesday morning for 13 weeks, starting in late January 2018. Classes will be actively involved with our current Master Gardener projects and will include hands-on orientation to our Helpline and Outreach programs. The application period for the 2018 Program will open in mid October.



Community Outreach

In addition to being available in person, by phone and via email (see Visit Us on the right sidebar), Master Gardeners are available to home gardeners at various community outreach events. We not only give free home gardening advice at these outreaches, we have available for sale UH seeds, fruit fly traps, lures & bait, and Master Gardener grown plants. Stop by and see us at the following events:


Wiliwili Festival

Sat. Jan. 28, 2017
10 am - 4 pm          

Waikoloa Stables
Keauhou Farmers’ Market February 11, 2017
8 am – 12 noon
Keauhou Shopping Center
Avocado Festival March 4, 2017
10 am – 5 pm
Hale Halawai, Kailua Kona
Cream of the Crop Date to be announced  
Kona Coffee Expo April 28, 2017
10 am – 4 pm      
Pavilion, Old Airport, Kailua Kona
Kona Orchid Society Show

May 12, 2017
9 am - 6 pm and
May 13, 2017
8 am – 4pm

Pavilion, Old Airport, Kailua Kona

Avocado Festival