For our second monthly nursery tour, we visited Koba's Nursery in Waimanlo. We had the opportunity to sit down with owner Carl Kobashigawa to hear a bit of history about the family business. They began in 1980 working and farming the land before purchasing the current property in 1985. Business began slow as they tested the market and found their niche. Today the nursery sells to landscapers, maintenance crews, hotels, resorts, and directly to home owners.
The nursery tour focused on what types of plants Carl had in stock. It was interesting as we walked around to see which plants were sold out and in high demand. Carl noted that some varieties he cannot keep in stock because they sell out too quickly. Other plants have been set aside or cut back multiple times because they are no longer commonly used in projects. We also got a glimpse at some other unique plants, such as the semi-dwarf Sansevieria, that are in stock at Koba's.
One of the major challenges we talked about was the rise in demand for native plants. It's becoming more and more common for Landscape Architects to specify native plants for a portion of a project but it's difficult for the growers to know what specific plants designers need. Sometimes project plant lists come out and it's too late in the process for the growers to supply exactly what the designer needs.
The nursery tour proved beneficial for members of LICH and ASLA alike. While the Landscape Architects and designers had an opportunity to take note of what's growing at Koba's Nursery, nurserymen and women had an interesting dialogue about other industry struggles such as propagation, inter island shipments, pests, and plant diseases.
Stay tuned for more information about our next nursery tour!