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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 continuing to develop our Demonstration Garden and Demonstration Orchards. We are beginning preparations for an open house for area home gardeners in Spring 2018. Open house planning is being led by Kathy F.

Led by Master Gardener Ed, the team is continues to plant the Demonstration Garden to showcase plants grown from University of Hawaiʻi (UH) seeds. Future plans include developing labels for plants grown in the garden and trees grown in the orchard.

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. Led by MG Bob S., MG and MG Trainee volunteers, along with MG Coordinator Ty McDonald, replaced cloudy sections of the greenhouse roof to optimize sunlight for seedlings.

Our 2017 Master Gardener Trainees are actively involved with the Demonstration Garden and Orchard.  Plans are in place to involve the 2018 MG Trainees in the Demonstration Garden & Orchard, as well as with the 2018 open house. 

Our class devoted to Master Gardeners teaching the Trainees about our Surinam Cherry Orchard, Demonstration Garden and Orchard was a big hit with the 2017 MG Training Program group, so we plan to continue that with our 2018 class.

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 utilized the Surinam Cherry orchard during our 2017 Master Gardener Volunteer Training Program for our specialized 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 Vanilla Company and a tour of the farms of two of our Master Gardeners. Highlights of the first tour included touring MG Cheryl’s extensive plantings of native Hawaiian plants.  At MG Stacey’s, we toured her market gardens and greenhouse and enjoyed lunch from a lot of the wonderful food from her gardens.

Interested in Becoming a Master Gardener?

Each person enrolling in the Master Gardener Program commits to completing 39 hours of instruction plus 9 field trip hours, an open-book 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, January 23, 2018, through April 17, 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 is now open.



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:

Keauhou Farmers’ Market Oct. 28, 2017
Keauhou Shopping Mall
Keauhou Farmers’ Market Dec. 9, 2017 Keauhou Shopping Mall
South Kona Green Market Dec. 17, 2017 Amy Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden parking lot
Keauhou Farmers’ Market TBD Keauhou Shopping Mall
Wiliwili Festival Feb. 3, 2018 Waikoloa site TBD

Avocado Festival