||Like so many of us, Lucinda Fleeson wanted to escape what had become a routine life. So, she quit her big-city job, sold her suburban house, and moved halfway across the world to the island of Kauai to work at the National Tropical Botanical Garden. Imagine a one-hundred-acre garden estate nestled amid ocean cliffs, rain forests, and secluded coves. Exotic and beautiful, yes, but as Fleeson awakens to this sensual world, exploring the island's food, beaches, and history, she encounters an endangered paradise--the Hawaii we don't see in the tourist brochures.||Native plants are dying at an astonishing rate--Hawaii is called the Extinction Capital of the World--and invasive species (plants, animals, and humans) have imperiled this Garden of Eden. Fleeson accompanies a plant hunter into the rain forest to find the last of a dying species, descends into limestone caves with a paleontologist who deconstructs island history through fossil life, and shadows a botanical pioneer who propagates rare seeds, hoping to reclaim the landscape. Her grown-up adventure is a reminder of the value of choosing passion over security, individuality over convention, and the pressing need to protect the earth. And as she witnesses the island's plant renewal efforts, she sees her own life blossom again.
||Philadelphia journalist Lucinda Fleeson fled her midlife crisis to the lush paradise of Hawaii, where she resolved to relish the beauty of nature's bounty. But Fleeson soon discovered that many of the most extraordinary plants of the islands were far from flourishing. In fact, she discovers that Hawaii has been labeled the "Extinction Capital of the World," since so many native plants can not be found anywhere else in the world, and have become seriously endangered by the encroaching human population. Determined to help revitalize her Eden, as it has done for her, Fleeson relives her most memorable encounters with Hawaii's astonishing array of bewildering life forms, particularly the strangest species of all--humans.