Patrick Kawamoto bought his first orchid plant, he was being
extravagant. It was 1934, and Patrick was only 14 years old.
The Kawamoto's were immigrants to Honolulu, and money was
scarce. What few funds the teenager earned by cleaning yards
normally went right to his mother.
But Patrick was fascinated by the spectacular and mysterious
blossoms, which flourished for him in Hawai'i's lush, sweet
climate. He became a welder by trade but continued to collect
new orchid varieties. He practiced the arts of propagation
and cultivation, and the collection kept spreading out. He
built greenhouse after greenhouse. Slowly but inevitably,
the orchid operation outgrew the 'hobby' stage, and, in 1947,
Patrick opened the doors of Kawamoto Orchid Nursery.
the nursery thrives as a family tradition, an international
exporter of thousands of varieties of Hawaiian orchids. The
3 1/2 acres of verdant orchid houses are managed by Patrick's
son, Les, and have been operated by three generations of the
Kawamoto family. O'ahu visitors love to walk through the nursery's
luxurious, sweet-smelling greenhouses, nestled back in cool,
green Palolo Valley, just beyond the urban bustle of Honolulu.