We first met William & Paula Merwin in 1996, in their magical garden in Haiku, on the Hawaiian island of Maui. We fell instantly in love with their palm garden, not just for its beauty – but the compelling backstory of its creation. William purchased and restored nineteen acres, of once officially designated wasteland, into a lush palm preserve. When we weren’t making pictures, we spent many an hour talking with William about poetry, photography, politics, and music.
When we heard the Merwins had formed a conservancy to preserve and protect the palms, we felt compelled to return – this time with an assignment from Audubon Magazine. We have seen all to often, sections of the Hawaiian Islands falling prey to environmentally insensitive development. This most definitely was one piece of land that needed to remain intact.
Much had changed in fifteen years, new paths have been added, and a systematic cataloguing of the over 800 species of palms had begun. The photos from our most recent visit are featured in an essay in the September-October 2012 issue of Audubon Magazine.
Diane’s iceberg picture also on the cover.