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Fall 2023 Newsletter

Lauritzen Gardens - Omaha Botanical Center

By: Peter Hier

If you like to visit well-planted botanic gardens but don’t want to drive for 8 hours, come join us on September 14th. We will virtually visit Lauritzen Gardens located in Omaha, Nebraska. View 100 acres of a variety of gardens and features including a 3-level conservatory, which contains tropical plants and water features.

Water is also present in a series of natural ponds in the gardens and unusual holding ponds in the parking lots. Of course, water lilies and marginal plants are in these features. A tram can transport people from the entrance through the gardens. Commentary by the driver educates the passengers and gives the legs a break.

A favorite exhibit for Brenda and I was the garden scale railroad. At least 3 trains were running past buildings modeled after actual buildings in Omaha and made out of botanical materials. We also enjoyed a seasonal gnome exhibit that ran from June 1st through September 2nd. There is also a stained-glass display throughout the gardens that runs through October 15th.

The garden was named after a generous contribution from the Lauritzen family. They could see what a positive experience the gardens would play in visitor’s lives.

Come enjoy a virtual visit with us on at our own Denver Botanic Gardens. The meeting will take place in Gates Hall, located within the Boettcher Memorial Center. There will be a potluck from 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm, so please bring an appetizer, salad, side dish, or main dish to share if you wish to partake. At 7:00 pm there will be a brief meeting and the presentation will begin at 7:15 pm.

For questions, please call Peter Hier at (303) 278-2106 or moose.4bph@q.com. See you there!

2023 - 2024 CWGS Board Elections

By: Dorothy Martinez

We have the following positions open:

Member at Large 1
Member at Large 3
Member at Large 5
Member at Large 7
Member at Large 9

Board member duties include:

• Attend at least 50% of all Board, committee meetings, and functions including special events.
• Serve on at least one committee per year.
• Be informed about the organization's mission, services, policies, and programs.
• Uphold and work to promote the organization's mission.
• Establish policy, set general guidelines, and coordinate scheduled activities of all Society events.
• Contribute to the development, maintenance of the Society, and ensure its financial solvency.
• Board members have a duty of loyalty to the organization and other Board members.
• Solicit input from members of the Society regarding programs and activities of the Society.
• Conduct projects to further the goals of the Society.
• Provide timely reports to the Board of Directors and/or publication in the newsletter.
• Act as an official representative of the Society and its membership only when so designated by the Board of Directors.
• Communicate all information to the Board of Directors pertinent to the functioning of the Society, or having an effect on the Society on an ongoing basis.
• As with committee assignments, additional duties may be assigned, usually as determined by the Board of Directors.

There are 4 Board meetings per year that determine the meeting/event schedules for the following year. Currently, there are 9 events per year, including the Plant Sale, Pond Tour, and Holiday Party.

I am precluded from running for President again, as I am term limited. If you or anyone you know would like to serve on the Colorado Water Garden Society Board, please let me know. I can be reached at dam@johnfunk.com or (303) 279-3137.

2023 Rocky Mountain Koi Show

By: Dorothy Martinez

The Koi Show, hosted by The Rocky Mountain Koi Club, will take place on Saturday, September 23th from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sunday, September 24th from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Douglas County Fairgrounds. The Douglas County Fairgrounds are located at 500 Fairgrounds Drive, Castle Rock, CO 80104. The show will take place in the multipurpose barn.

The show is open to members of the Koi Club who would like to have their Koi exhibited. The show is open to the public and all are welcome!

On Saturday, vendors will be open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm in the Vendor Hall and there will be a lecture by Dr. Sanders on Koi Health at 2:00 pm at the Exhibitor Hall. On Sunday, the judges’ review will start around 10:30 am. The Koi Auction at the Vendors will start at 11:30 am.

For details on how to participate in the show as an exhibitor, click here:


Here is a link to the maps showing the location of the Douglas County Fairgrounds and where the Koi Show will take place within the Fairgrounds:


2023 CWGS Photo Contest

By: Kim Kimpton

You may submit your photo entries NOW!

Use the following link https://forms.gle/DhXC5isxw6euGqpL7 to submit your entries through September 20th. All photos will be shown, winners announced, and prizes awarded during our October 5th meeting at Denver Botanic Gardens. It’s going to be a great evening celebrating water gardening.

Remember, the categories are:

1. Water Lilies and Lotus
2. Marginal Plants
3. Whole Plant Collections/Gardens
4. It's Alive - Pollinators, Fish, and Birds
5. Container Gardens
6. Water Features/Fountains
7. Black and White Photographs

Don’t wait – get clicking and submitting!

See full contest rules on our website at:


Questions? Please contact Kim Kimpton at kimkimpton1@gmail.com.

2023 Water Blossom Celebration

By: Kim Kimpton

In 1983 the first aquatic plants made their debut at Denver Botanic Gardens' waterways and the Colorado Water Garden Society was formed. At that time, water gardening was quite novel. Botanic gardens and water gardening societies began to bring this gardening art to the public's attention. A water gardening pioneer, Joe Tomocik was the first curator of aquatic plants at Denver Botanic Gardens and a cofounder of CWGS. Later it was also Joe who dreamed up the idea of the Water Blossom Celebration, as a way to bring the public closer to the fabulous world of aquatic plants, water gardening, and more deeply experience the lovely waterways at Denver Botanic Gardens. Since then, this annual summer event has delighted guests attending The Gardens.

On August 12th, under slightly cloudy skies, all the aquatic plants bloomed brilliantly. The water lilies opened and showed off their unique colors and forms. Lotuses posed elegantly. Star variety tropical lilies were stellar in the romantic pond. Victorias gave us plenty of stories to share. And the marginals added more color and texture to every water garden. Everybody remarked on the beautiful design and colorful palette. Since 2011, Tamara Kilbane has been the aquatics champion and Curator of the Aquatic Collection at DBG. You are amazing! And yes, I know you would be fast to give a shout out to your volunteers, a mighty team.

Volunteers do rock! In part, due to scores of volunteers the Water Blossom Celebration has grown and endured. Excellent advertising by Jim Arneill, Erin Bird (DBG), and Tamara Kilbane ensured the public knew about this colorful event. Guests, not in the know, strolled into The Gardens and were swept up in aquatic and carnivorous plant fever. Nearly nineteen CWGS and DBG volunteers, both seasoned and new to volunteering for CWGS, connected with the public from the Monet Pond, aquatics cart, carnivorous plant education table, membership, guided tours, and sign up. And let's not forget the volunteers that carefully selected aquatic plants and potted up venus flytraps for guests to take home complete with instructions to ensure their success. Greater than 100 hours were put in by our phenomenal volunteers that day. Countless more hours were spent by Tamara, her staff, and more volunteers growing plants for the event.

Volunteers are the center of the CWGS and enable us to put on events such as the Water Blossom Celebration.

From beginning to end, thank you all for helping to make the Water Blossom Celebration a success.

How to Prepare Your Pond for the Upcoming Winter

By: Dorothy Martinez

With the summer winding down, our thoughts begin to turn to autumn. Even though the current weather seems more summer-like than fall-like, the fall and ensuing winter will be here before we know it.

With the autumn approaching fast, there are things you need to do to properly prepare your pond for the winter before daytime and nighttime temperatures get too cold.

To allow your plants to go dormant, stop fertilizing them at the end of August or the beginning of September. It is okay to continue fertilizing tropical lilies through the end of September, but stop when you notice their leaf spread diminishing, leaves getting smaller, and leaves turning more yellow.

To prevent algae blooms in the spring, you need to think about keeping as many leaves and other debris out of your pond as much as possible. The easiest way to do this is to put a net over your pond. It is easier to do this after you have trimmed the hardy plants down. Optimally, you should remove the net before the snow flies and the net becomes frozen into the sides of your pond. If that happens, you will have to wait until the spring thaw to remove it.

All large leaves of hardy water lilies should be removed down to the soil level as well as any large flower buds that have not bloomed. Leave small leaves and tiny buds. Hardy lilies should then be dropped to the deepest area of your pond. You should also trim down all of your hardy marginal plants (iris, marsh marigold, rush, sedge, etc.) to about 1 – 3 inches above the water or soil level depending on where they are growing.

Another consideration is what to do with any tropical plants you have in your pond as they will not survive through the winter. You can, as many people do, treat your tropical plants as an annual and simply remove and discard them at the end of the season. Alternatively, you can store many plants in an area of your basement or garage – the caveat here is the area you store them should not drop below 40 degrees.

This method works especially well for tropical lily tubers (as long as they stay moist), cannas, and even taros – basically any plant that grows from a tuber or rhizome. For those plants, I usually bring them out of the pond when there are consistent nighttime temperatures in the low 40’s. I let the plants and soil dry out. After the first hard frost, I trim off all vegetation to about 1 – 3 inches above the soil line. Once the plants are timed down, they can be stored in your basement or garage. Be sure to water them lightly toward the end of December or early January. Only add enough water to moisten them, if you drench them, the tubers/rhizomes will rot.

As for tropical lilies, I wait until their growth starts to slow down, usually when nighttime temperatures are in the 40’s. Remove the larger leaves down to the base of the plant as well as any large flower buds that have not bloomed. Leave small leaves and tiny buds. The plants and their containers can be stored in a sealed garbage bag to help keep them moist – you will need to check them every couple of weeks to make sure the soil stays moist. Be careful not to add too much water, as the tubers can quickly rot. If you have a small tub, you can drop the container into the tub and keep the water level just over the soil of your container.

Other plants such as papyrus, umbrella palm, aquatic ginger, aquatic banana, and other tropical marginal plants (society garlic, rain lilies, Aztec arum, double-flower arum, snowflake, etc.) can be brought indoors and treated as a houseplant. Most of these plants do best if you put their containers into a deep saucer and add water to the saucer. Try to keep about an inch or two of water in the saucer at all times. This method only applies to containers with holes in the bottom, which allows water to wick up into the soil. If a pot does not have holes in it, you will need to find a tub or container large enough for the potted plant to fit into the tub all the way. That way, you can fill it with enough water to cover an inch or two over the plant’s soil level.

As for your fish, you will need to start monitoring your pond’s temperature. When the pond temperature reaches 50 degrees, you should change their diet to a an easier to digest diet such as wheat germ. It is also a good idea to start tapering off their food intake gradually when the pond temperature is between 40 – 50 degrees. Once the pond reaches 40 degrees, you will stop feeding them until the spring. In the spring, once the pond temperature reaches 40 degrees, you can resume the wheat germ diet and then transition them to their normal food once the pond temperature reaches 50 degrees.

When feeding your fish, you should try to see if they have any scrapes, lesions, or other injuries. Any unhealed injuries, can lead to more stress through the winter and may cause an untimely death. If you notice they have injuries it may be advantageous to salt your pond to get rid of pesky parasites. If the fish are exhibiting any serious problems, you may need to have them treated with medication. Some medications can be added to your pond water and others need to be administered directly to the fish through injection or food.

Lastly, for your fish to survive the winter, they will need adequate ventilation should your pond ice over completely. This is especially important if you turn off waterfalls or pumps during the winter months. A hole needs to be maintained in the ice to allow toxic gases to escape. The easiest way to do this is to add an air pump/aerator or deicer to your pond. These will need to remain on and functional throughout the winter, so be sure to check they are operating correctly.

Remember, proper fall pond maintenance ensures easier spring start up.