In 1988, I had the good fortune to come to the island of Kauai, Hawaii. After owning a small parcel of land on Maui prior to my visit, I was in love with the Garden Island. Staying there for a few weeks on vacation, I came across a parcel of land on the North Shore for sale, next door to the Historic Kilauea Lighthouse. I couldn’t believe it, so I went home, mustered up the down payment, came back, and bought what was to become the Lighthouse Tropical Nursery. Business grew, we became certified under the Department of Agriculture, and shipped our cut flowers and plants around the country. We are still active members of the Hawaii Flowers and Shippers Association and Kauai Farm Bureau.

The main house on the property had a long, beautiful, covered Lanai walkway with 12 hanging flower baskets, 6 on each side. They were made of wrought iron and had cocoa mats liners. It was impressive as you walked down the Lanai, the baskets blooming and swaying in the wind.

At first glance, everything was beautiful. However, after living there for a while, I started to notice the discharge of the water coming from the baskets on the beautiful slate below. Between the dirt and fertilizer, they produced a very nasty stain on the slate walkway. Also, as the months went by, various plants died and I needed to rotate new plants into the baskets.

I'll never forget when I took my first basket down. I set it on the ground, forgetting that it was round, and it immediately rolled over, spilling dirt all over the walkway. That scenario repeated itself many times until I figured out how to stop the basket from rolling over. To do so, I had to bring another bucket and put the basket in the bucket.

All this staining of my walkway and all the rolling over of the baskets and all the dirt spilling out on my Lanai walkway when I had to change a dead plant was frustrating, so I started to think about how we could do this better.

So, I took the baskets up to our potting nursery to try to fix them. There was some chicken wire laying around (we had chickens), and I began to play around, first on the round baskets. I made our first WonderBasket model. It was crude, but it worked. Square, not round, a flat bottom to stop the rolling. I found some chain and hung them up on my walkway. Instead of dealing with loose dirt because the bottoms were flat, I simply tried using potted plants. No more loose dirt, no more mixed root systems.

The WonderBasket was born. Boy, did it work! After 30 years of refining the Wonder Basket and adding inventions like the No Drip Watering System™, Retention Tray™, and our patented Pot Liners, the Wonder Basket has emerged into a category all by itself. With the recent addition of our Succulent Basket, the only one of its kind, born on a working nursery on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, its heritage has been tested.

Finally, we introduce the WonderBasket™ to the rest of the United States. And remember, “We can grow where others can’t”™.

Owner – Sandy Saemann