After living in Southern California for over 25 years, Andy & I decided to make a big move and relocate to the Big Island of Hawaii in 2009. This is really a big island, it's about 100 miles across, about the same size as San Diego county, but there's only 170,000 people here. We've been busy getting set up on our new island paradise and wow, what an amazing journey this has been. We love our new home and garden. The house was brand new in 2009 and the one acre site was raw. It first had to be hand cleared, but now it's an amazing jungle.
Gardening on rock (literally) was a completely new experience for us, but we are fast learners. The plants grow in mounded cinder on top of the fissured rock with a thick mulch topping. Drainage is perfect, but luckily it rains almost a half inch every night. What a difference from the coastal deserts of Southern California. Water was one of the reasons we relocated, and what a difference good quality water makes. The weather is pretty good too. I was expecting more rain, but we live near the water, and they consider the property to be in the sunny dry area of the wet side. That means we get only 90" a year, but after 8" a year in Southern California it seems like a lot. Wet areas here can get over 200" a year. It's all about elevation, the higher you go, the cooler and rainier it gets. We are at 200', less than a mile from the ocean and luckily out of the tsunami zone. Average temp is 83 F. every day with night temps around 70 F. , the coldest so far was about 63 F., burr. As far as lava, we are in lava zone 3, which is considered unlikely to encounter any fresh lava, but when you live on the world's most active volcano you can never really rule it out. Vog, a mixture of volcanic fumes and fog is a concern on the other side of the island, because that's the direction the trade winds blow. We rarely get any where we live, in fact the air where we live is considered the best, and cleanest on the planet.
The mail order nursery is just now getting up and running, but we've also been connecting to the local community selling plants at farmers markets and organizations like BIAN (the Big Island Association of Nurseryman). Come and see us regularly at The Maku'u Farmers Market on Sundays from 7:00 - 2:00, or the Waimea Town Market at the Parker School on Saturdays from 8:00 - 1:00 and at other major event sales around the island.
The mail order nursery will make the plants that we love available to those who may also want to try these favorites in their gardens. It's called 'Vintage Green Farms' , please see the link to your left. It took a while to get our certification for shipping to the mainland, but now we are ready to go and excited to be growing plants again.
I've also started doing some landscape consulting, design, pruning and installation around the island, including restoring an old Japanese Garden in Hilo. I've really got a good understanding of tropical gardening in just a few years. It's really not that different from landscaping anywhere, the plants selections are a little different, but the principles of design remain the same. I'm also still providing landscape design for California, as well as landscape services to those who are willing to provide transportation. Yes, I'm still game to do work on the mainland, I've already been back twice in the last two years to work on projects. It's fun to go back and visit, but I really like being in my new tropical island home.
About the TV show: We stopped doing 'Down to Earth' in 2008, and it was a great run. We did over 40 half-hour shows over 4 years, won 2 Emmys and had a great time. We still are being seen in reruns, and clips can also be seen on u-tube. I would still love to do more TV, but it really is about finding the right opportunity at this point. If something presents itself, I think it could be fun.
My cell: 760-525-9426
To reach me by e-mail: tom piergrossi
To go to the mail order nursery: Vintage Green Farms
To go to my Landscaping Site: Kaloli Landscape
To read my blog: Tom's Blog
PO Box 1868
Kea'au, HI 96749-1868
If you want to visit the nursery, just contact me and I would be happy to send you the information.