Nestled up to the Ko’olau Mountains, a couple of blocks from the ocean, is a garden full of orchids, hoya, exotic trees and vines - and the house of Ted and Dorothy Green.
“Here, I am surrounded by my friends. Every one of these plants holds memories of trips, friends and good times”. At night the mountain breezes and the sounds of the ocean play Hawaiian lullabies while the neighbors’ chickens scuttle amongst the jungle. The garden is small and comfortable…as can easily be planted by a talented Landscape Architect.
Ted is most often found in a 2nd floor office …overlooking the ocean and the garden…surrounded by computer and printers……… He is a Landscape Architect, still busy with projects from private homes to commercial projects. As a young man, he worked for the City and County of Honolulu as a landscape architect in the parks department and its botanical gardens and one of his jobs was to collect trees for the city’s street tree program. Some of Hawaii’s favorite trees were brought to the islands by Ted…from all over Asia.
Q. Of all of your ‘claims to fame’ (landscape architect, hoya collector and publisher, orchid breeder and collector, grower, author, artist – what would you like to be known as?
A. All of the above. In college I majored in Biology and minored in Geography/Geology and also minored in Art – so I guess that I have put them all together.
Q. When did your Hoya interest bloom?
A. I served in the Navy during WWII as a Hospital Corpsman in the Solomon Islands and became really interested in plants and snakes there….but my interest in hoyas came later, on a return, plant collecting trip to Guadalcanal, in 1963.
Q. Your favorite Hoya?
A. Hoya subcalva. You know, it comes from close to where JFK's PT Boat was sunk.
Q. Would you comment about the nasty things Christine Burton writes about you?
A. I try not to let it bother me; however, I must say - what a waste of talent. She is a good artist, she has a wealth of knowledge about hoyas but she chooses to denigrate anyone who disagrees with her or crosses her path.
Q. But she says horrible things about you that I know for a fact are not true. And she is relentless in her attacks.
A. I am not the only person she attacks. I am only a member of the club.
Q. How do you keep up with all the changing of Hoya names?
A. Well, I do my best by reading all of the journals and publications, but sometimes it seems that they are more into the science of taxonomy than the horticulture. After all, it is simply an interpretation of someone else’s opinion! The plant just grows and quite frankly doesn’t care.
Q. Some have opined that there are many fewer species than we think, and there are many variations/subspecies of them, rather than the hundreds and hundreds of species. What do you think?
A. I agree. And there are so many that haven’t been collected yet. Papua New Guinea is full of hoya and yet it is so difficult to travel in that country. I would love to go there and spend some time, for instance, in the Waria Valley in SE PNG. Unfortunately, there are many areas of that country that are simply impossible for a foreigner to travel.
I asked Ted what he thought were the top 6 hoyas for a hobbyist to grow….and his answer?
H. lacunosa, H. carnosa , H. pubicalyx , H. macgillivrayi, H. densifolia and H. coriacea. These give a good representation of the variations through the genus. No sense having all of the clones of each species, like H. publicalyx…they are all beautiful!
Ted sells generous cuttings of Hoya and Dischidia. His website address is: