The Kauai estate’s picture-perfect beach [photo above] was a secluded setting in the movie “South Pacific.” Its leggy, snakelike banyan trees [first photo at left] were home to dinosaur eggs in “Jurassic Park.” We caught a glimpse of it in “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” And “Fantasy Island” – you know, “Boss, da plane”? That was the Allerton Garden as well.
To paraphrase another movie: It was not Iowa, but it might have been heaven.
The strongest feature of this once-residential garden is in its construction of garden “rooms” – in this case, imposed settings but with mostly native plantings. The Allerton is a green garden, a quiet one, its drama orderly and understated. Ornament and structure are used sparingly, and so to great effect. [See second photo at left.]
The Allerton is also a garden of stone and water, of stability and movement. [See third photo at left.] And when the trade wind picks up in the bamboo grove, it is a garden of gentle sound as well.
Chicago cattle heir and Mayflower descendant Robert Allerton transformed himself from failed artist to premier landscape architect in the carving of this 80-acre formal garden where Hawaii’s Queen Emma once raised taro and rice.
Fifty years ago, the famous photographer and writer Cecil Beaton, writing in Harper’s Bazaar, called the garden “a well-ordered paradise (where) nothing appears artificial, yet nature is so under control that not a leaf is out of place.” It still is.
For more information: The Allerton Garden, 4425 Lawai Road, Koloa, HI 96756. Phone: (808) 742-2623.
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