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Garden of Readin'

Plant the seeds of ideas with these new titles.


It may be little, but A Pocket Guide to Botanical Gardens is packed with information on 35 gardens throughout the state. I liked how user friendly this book is, with directions, hours, where to park and other key information, such as how many mosquitoes you may encounter.

Author Kevin Whitton has provided plenty of captioned color photos, helpful for those of us who don’t know what a native white hibiscus looks like. It’s the perfect book to inspire you to do something different this weekend and check out a garden you’ve been meaning to go to. The book is, however, fairly basic, so perhaps it’s a better choice for beginning gardeners and visitors rather than advanced Island green thumbs.  (Mutual Publishing, $8.95)


Serious gardeners, however, should check out Small Trees for the Tropical Landscape: A Gardener’s Guide, by Fred Rauch, Ph.D., and Paul Weissich. Rauch is emeritus professor of horticulture at the University of Hawaii and Weissich is a licensed landscape architect and director emeritus of the Honolulu Botanical Gardens.

The authors note that U.S. cityscapes are losing trees at an alarming rate, and inspire home gardeners to increase their use of small trees. (Small trees are defined here as those that grow up to no more than 30 feet in height, although the authors also include large scrubs that can be properly pruned into small trees.) They discuss hundreds of species, subspecies and hybrids, and include helpful information on each tree’s needs, such as salt and wind tolerance, shade/full-sun preferences, watering and more. (University of Hawaii Press, $41.99)


Photo: David Croxford

And Good Eatin’

Beloved izakaya Tokkuri Tei is celebrating its 20th anniversary and, in honor of the occasion, came out with the cookbook Izakaya Hawaii: Tokkuri Tei Cooking. The recipes are from chef-manager Hideaki “Santa” Miyoshi, who details his bold combinations and intriguing dishes, influenced not just by classical Japanese ingredients and techniques, but also by French, Hawaiian and other flavors. Many of his recipes were inspired by his patrons. Take, for example, the Idaho Roll. “This is a roll made with mashed potatoes,” he writes. “We made it for a customer who brought a friend from the Mainland; the friend had never eaten raw fish or sushi. It’s not too bad.” The food photography is amazing, and for many readers that, and the witty, informative food writing, will be the draw. I’m not sure I’d be able to actually make these dishes, which call for skills such as deep-frying an entire flounder. (Mutual Publishing, $27.95)

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Honolulu Magazine March 2017
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