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Playhouse Pond & Garden

The areas immediately surrounding stone-paved walkways and ponds were cleared in preparation for the landscape project. Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, Honolulu, Hawai'i. (Photo: Alison Chiu, 2011.)

The Playhouse pond and garden, located on the northern side of the Playhouse, were re-landscaped by Shangri La’s grounds staff in the winter of 2011 four years after the pond area had been emptied and decommissioned due to problems such as poor filtration. Preparation for the work included the removal of three existing mango trees due to excessive debris and falling hazards, the installation of a new pump and filter system, and the cleaning and surface preparation of the concrete ponds and waterfall.

Historically, this area was called the “rock garden,” and it was surrounded by palms. The 2011 landscape design included planting Raphis palms and additional Manila palms, as well as ground orchids, Rhoeo and other plants. Small fish were added to control the mosquito and tadpole larvae in the ponds. Sustainable gardening practices and products, such as compost-based fertilizer, are used whenever possible.

Eldorado bushes at the eastern side of the garden, which had previously screened the pond, were removed in order to allow for improved visual access from the Playhouse and upper lawn areas. This work was a very appealing improvement to the Playhouse, which serves as home to visiting Scholars - and Artists-in-Residence and also as the venue for onsite programs.

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