Making Magic at The Legendary Haiku Mill

The lush, tropical surroundings of Haiku Mill have influenced the botanical design of the property ever since Haiku Mill’s owner, Sylvia Hamilton Kerr, designed the exterior with Hawaii’s rare tropical plants in mind.

Kerr– a winner of various gardening awards in British Columbia– envisioned Haiku Mill’s modern incarnation as something of a secret garden; the former sugar cane processing factory was built in 1861 and is now full of beautifully-romantic flowers that give its sunken grotto and unique exterior features a bespoke magical feel.

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While the walls of the original sugar factory remain, the space was outfitted with handsom treasures that Kerr sourced from flea markets in France, which compliment the tropical landscape beyond its confines and continue to impress visitors near and far.

Haiku Mill garden is home to lipstick palms, ivory-nut palms, areca vestaria, Samoan gardenia, breadfruit trees (which are known as “Ulu” to locals), Puakenikeni, lilikoi vines, orchids, roses, succulents, bougainvillea, starfruit trees, Meyer lemon trees, allspice trees, and more than a few ancient mango trees. Elizabeth Michalkow, Haiku Mill’s Botany Adviser, oversees a skilled outdoor team alongside Tai Domen, who owns Alihilani Arborcare in nearby Kula. Together, the team works to maintain and cultivate the grounds daily, occasionally coordinating with a wonderfully-skilled group of florists who customize the flora for each of the 50-75 events that Haiku Mill hosts each year– from swing installations to large extravagant rose walls and floral chandeliers.

Teresa Sena (who was recently named as a top wedding florist by Martha Stewart Weddings), as well as Mandy Grace Designs, Bella Bloom, Wildheart, and Dellables, are all just a few of the florists that Haiku Mill commissions for their weddings. They also often work with Capische and the renowned Sugar Beach, who prepare farm-to-table meals at each event (including fresh fish, Maui-raised cattle, and assortments of fruits and vegetables from local farms).

Between the native designs and each studio’s lush, organic arrangements, bouquets, boutonnieres, hakus, leis, and other custom floral installations, Haiku Mill maintains a European elegance amongst tropical environs– a rare feat for a garden paradise that offers the best of both worlds.

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