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May 2024 Newsletter

Award-Winning Hardy Waterlilies Available at DBG Spring Plant Sale

By: Tamara Kilbane, photos provided by Gianluca Bonomo

The Spring Plant Sale at Denver Botanic Gardens is only days away! This year, we are excited to offer two award-winning hardy waterlilies in a very limited quantity.

The first, 'Jakkaphong', received the top prize across all categories in the 2017 IWGS New Waterlily Competition. Hybridized by Jakkaphong Sung-ngam of Thailand, this cultivar boasts unique, dark fuchsia petals with striations of bright white. Each bloom is unique with some petals displaying both colors while other petals on the same bloom can be solid white - similar to the variation seen in another past prize-winner from Thailand, 'Wanvisa'. This lily will do best in a medium to large pond planted in a 16" container.

The second cultivar, 'Mahasombut', was named the overall winner in the 2018 IWGS New Waterlily Competition. Nattawut Rodboot of Thailand is the hybridizer of this beautiful hardy cultivar with large, high petal count blooms that are a deep, dusty pink in color. This plant can grow to 5' in diameter and will therefore do best in a larger 16" - 20" growing container.

Both of these new award-winners will be sold potted for $50 and will be available in a limited quantity of 5 plants per variety. Planting containers in sizes including 9", 12", 16", and 20" will also be available at the Sale along with aquatic plant fertilizer tablets to get your new lilies off to a great start.

The DBG Spring Plant Sale will take place from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm on Friday, May 10th and Saturday, May 11th. Admission is free, but reservations are required. More information can be found at https://www.botanicgardens.org/events/special-events/spring-plant-sale.

2024 Colorado Water Garden Society Annual Plant Swap

By: Dorothy Martinez

The Swap will take place on Monday, May 13th starting at 6:00 pm with a potluck. The location this year will be at The Overlook pavilion located within The Hudson Gardens & Event Center. Hudson Gardens is located at 6115 S. Sante Fe Drive in Littleton. Please park in the main lot and enter Hudson Gardens through the gate located to the south of the Gift Shop/Visitor Center, then make your way to The Overlook pavilion.

For a map of Hudson Gardens, please click on the link below:


The potluck will be from 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm. Everyone should bring a dish of their choice, be it an appetizer, salad, side dish, main course, or dessert. The Club will provide drinks. There will be plenty of time for socializing during this portion of the meeting.

We will proceed with the Swap at 7:00 pm. Each person who brought a plant or plants will stand by those plants and talk about their plants including the plant’s growth habit, hardiness, color etc. This will help the new owner of the plant to be successful. After everyone has had an opportunity to talk, we start swapping. At the beginning, you are limited to getting one new plant for each plant you bring. After everyone has had a chance to do that, we open it up for people that didn’t bring anything and people that would like more items than the number they brought. When you have chosen all of the items you want, remember to place them away from the area of the Swap so they don’t get selected again by someone else!

The Swap is not just limited to aquatic plants, you can bring terrestrial plants, house plants, decorative pots, equipment, etc. Be sure to bring something to put all of your newly adopted plants in to take home.

Hopefully, at the end of the Swap, everyone goes home happy and now has the chore of planting all those new plants. We hope to see you there!

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact me at (303) 279-3137 or dam@johnfunk.com.

2024 Colorado Water Garden Society Plant Sale

By: Vicki Aber

The Plant Sale will be here before we know it. We are able to have it again at Hudson Gardens, 6115 S. Santa Fe Drive, in Littleton. We will be on the patio and lawn outside the ‘Business Center’. There will be directional signs but if you are having trouble finding it, ask at the Gift Shop/Visitor Center.

Click on the link below for a link of a map of Hudson Gardens:


As in previous years, we will have a large selection of hardy plants donated by our Club members, Hudson Gardens, and Denver Botanic Gardens. We also get some tropical plants from Hudson Gardens and Denver Botanic Gardens. To these, we add plants that are not easily found locally. We purchase these from a couple of wholesale nurseries that are kind enough to sell to us. It makes for a water gardener’s dream come true.

The date for the Sale is June 2nd. Colorado Water Garden Society members are allowed exclusive early admission to the Sale from 9:00 am until 10:00 am. The Sale will open to the public at 10:00 am. Be sure to come early to get the best selection, many plants sell out before 10:00 am. The Sale goes until about 2:00 pm or until sold out.

In addition to plants, we will have informational pamphlets (free), Pondtabbs fertilizer tablets, and some planting containers for sale. We will be posting a list of plants on the website a week or so before the Sale. We try to have everything that is on the list but occasionally plants that we were expecting don’t arrive.

The Sale cannot happen without all our wonderful volunteers. Saturday, we get together and unpack, label, and prepare the plants for sale. We start at 9:00 am and are usually done by noon. Sunday volunteers arrive at 8:00 am and get ready for all the eager shoppers. More volunteers are there throughout the day to help shoppers, answer questions, help with check out, etc. At the end we need to pack everything up and leave our area exactly as we found it.

We rely heavily on donated plants. If you have plant donations, they are welcome. It is helpful to know in advance what is coming so we can have it on the website list and prepare signage. You can let me know by email at docvicki@msn.com or by phone at 303-669-9760. We prefer you drop off any donations at Hudson Gardens on Saturday, June 1st before 10:00 am. If they come on Sunday, we have a harder time getting them out for the Sale, as we generally don’t have time to make tags, etc. for them.

If you would like to help with any or all of the job opportunities listed above, please let me know. As an incentive, anyone that works on the Sale will get 2 ‘lily bucks’ per hour worked. These can be used like real money to pay for your purchases. Because we also do not want anyone passing out from low sugar. We have donuts both Saturday and Sunday morning and provide lunch on Sunday for volunteers.

We have a lot of fun putting the Sale together and satisfaction in matching people with the right plants. If you can come and help, great. If you can’t, at least come and shop. If you can’t be there for the Sale at all, at least tell anyone you know that might be interested.

Plant Highlights for 2024 Colorado Water Garden Society Plant Sale

By: Dorothy Martinez

The Colorado Water Garden Society Plant Sale is fast approaching. As we prepare, I thought I would highlight a few of the plants that will be offered for sale this year. The Sale takes place on Sunday, June 2nd and members get exclusive access from 9:00 am – 10:00 am. Some plants sell out before the Sale opens to the public at 10:00 am, so get there early for the best plant selection!

Below is information on several tropical plants that will be offered for sale and are favorites of mine at Hudson Gardens.

A very unique plant is the blood or Cavendish banana plant (Musa acuminata subsp. ‘Zebrina’). Musa acuminata, is a large, fast-growing, suckering, evergreen plant that typically grows to 12' - 20’ tall in the tropics. Gardeners primarily grow these plants not for their fruit but for their ornamental foliage that lends an exotic and tropical aura to the home and/or landscape. Plants produce huge paddle-shaped leaves that grow to 6' - 10’ long. Leaf sheathes overlap to form a trunk-like pseudostem (false stem). Cream to yellow flowers may appear in summer on mature plants to be followed by edible yellow bananas.

Younger plants often will not flower and fruit until the 2nd or 3rd year. Container plants cut close to the ground in fall each year may never flower. After flowering and fruiting, the pseudostem dies, but the roots push out new shoots (suckers) which form new pseudostems.

It typically grows to 5' - 6’ tall and makes a much more manageable container plant or houseplant than the species. It is best noted for its large green leaves splashed with burgundy-red blotches and for its reddish trunk-like pseudostem.

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 10 - 11. Musa acuminata subsp. ‘Zebrina’ is best grown in organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun. Plants tolerate and often appreciate some part shade or light filtered sun in the heat of the day. It needs consistently moist soils that do not dry out. Fertilize regularly during growing season.

Site plants in areas protected from strong winds which can severely damage the large leaves. For containers, use a well-drained potting soil mix. Keep container soils consistently moist but not wet. Outdoor plants must be overwintered indoors, either as houseplants or by forcing plants into dormancy.

Options for overwintering include: (1) Bring container indoors in fall before first frost and place in a large sunny room for overwintering as a houseplant, with reduced water and fertilization; (2) If plant is too large to bring inside as a houseplant, cut foliage back to 6" - 8” in fall after first frost, and store container in a cool, dark, frost-free corner of the basement until spring. It is best to provide just a touch of moisture as needed in winter to prevent the soils from totally drying out; (3) If container is too heavy or too large to bring inside, remove plant from container in fall before first frost, wrap roots in plastic and store in a cool, dark, frost-free corner of the basement until spring. When using this option, foliage may be trimmed back or left on the plant and allowed to brown up in the normal course.

Another favorite class of plants I love for their showy leaves is the taro plant. Colocasia is the genus of water loving taros. The genus of Alocasia is not as fond of having wet feet as the Colocasia genus.

We will be offering a great selection of taros, including Colocasia esculenta ‘Aloha’, Colocasia esculenta ‘Mojito’, and Colocasia esculenta ‘White Lava’.

‘Aloha’ was released in 2017 from Hawaii's Dr. John Cho. Using Colocasia esculenta 'Coal Miner', John was able to combine the leaf pattern of the Colocasia esculenta 'Illustris' group with a clumping form of Colocasia esculenta. The result was 'Aloha' – a 4' tall x 3' wide, extremely vigorous taro that produces incredibly glossy black foliage. The 2' long x 1' wide black leaves are contrasted nicely on both the front and back by green veins.

‘Mojito’ is a naturally-occurring branch mutation of Colocasia esculenta 'Midnight' that was discovered and selected by Ty Richard Strode in a controlled greenhouse environment in Apopka, Florida in May, 2007. It is a tall and upright plant with large, variegated leaves that have black to very dark purple irregular markings and light green stems that have dark purple longitudinal streaks that fade to pink. 'Mojito' grows 4' - 5' tall and wide.

‘White Lava’ taro is another breeding handiwork of Hawaii's Dr. John Cho. Many years ago, Plant Delights Nursery shared Colocasia esculenta 'Nancy's Revenge' with John in the hope he could create a non-running improved version and, in 2013, the resulting 'White Lava' was unveiled. 'White Lava' is a clumping taro with large glossy green leaves which, as the season progresses, are adorned with a wide band of creamy white down the center of each leaf, later radiating out into the side veins. Each amazing leaf is further highlighted by a large purple spot where the leaf attaches to the stalk.

Information on blood banana and the three cultivars of taro was taken from The Missouri Botanical Garden website and Plant Delights Nursery, Inc.’s website.

Finally, a most amazing night blooming water lily, Nymphaea ‘Wood’s White Knight” will also be available at the Sale. We divided our water lily tubers at Hudson Gardens in February and this particular lily was quite prolific in producing tubers!

Nymphaea 'Wood's White Knight' is an excellent night blooming tropical waterlily with large white blossoms and emerald green pads. The white flowers open in the early evening and stay open till 8:00 am - 9:00 am in the morning. Night blooming lilies are an excellent choice for those who have to work all day. This is a great addition for a medium to large water garden or pond. Water lilies enjoy neutral to alkaline water and grow best in full sun. Planting should be done in water no cooler than 75° F. If the water is too cool the plant will enter a dormant state. For Zone 5, they prefer to be planted outside in mid to late June.

Information for Wood’s White Knight was taken from Florida Aquatic Nurseries website and Backyard Gardener’s website.

We hope to see you at the Sale!

How to Set-up a Gmail Filter to Avoid Incoming Emails from being sent to Spam

By: Dorothy Martinez

It has come to my attention that cloud service email providers such as Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail are cracking down on those who send out spam emails.

While this is welcome news, every silver lining has a touch of gray. Unfortunately, emails generated from opt-in mail services such as Mail Chimp or Constant Contact get erroneously caught up in this process as well.

The Colorado Water Garden Society sends out various “blast” emails each month to deliver the monthly Newsletter, announce Club news, and remind members of upcoming meetings/events.

We just had to go through and complete a rather arduous process with Mail Chimp to verify that we are who we say we are and we are not a scam organization sending out spam emails. Thankfully our web hosting company stepped in and was able to complete this process for us.

If you want to be sure you are receiving emails from the Club, you can do a couple of things to assure our emails are not being sent to spam. The first is to be sure to add this address dorothy.martinez@colowatergardensociety.org to your address book. The second is to complete a series of steps to set up a filter to notify your email provider we are not spam.

Since I am a Gmail user, I will outline the steps of how to accomplish this within Gmail. If you are not a Gmail user, there should be similar steps within your particular email provider to complete this task. Check your email Settings.

From Gmail:

1. Once you have logged into your Gmail account, click on the Settings Icon towards the top right of the Gmail screen
2. Click on “See all settings”
3. Click on “Filters and Blocked Addresses”
4. Under the wording “The following are applied to all incoming mail”, there should be the following wording in blue letters “Create a new filter”
5. Click on “Create a new filter”
6. When a new dialogue box opens, type in dorothy.martinez@colowatergardensociety.org in the “From” area
7. At the bottom of the dialogue box, click on “Create filter”
8. Another dialogue box opens, from the options listed, choose “Never send it to Spam”
9. Click on the “Create filter” button at the bottom of the dialogue box

Once you have done this, Gmail should no longer send anything from the email you entered, in this case dorothy.martinez@colowatergardensociety.org, to spam.

Hopefully, this will help prevent any emails sent from the Club from being sent to spam and you will receive emails in a timely fashion.

Butterfly Weed and Swamp Milkweed

By: Vicki Aber

Often sold as Mexican butterfly or bloodflower, Asclepias curassavica is a type of milkweed. It has a very showy bloom of red and orange. After blooming there is a seed pod with fluffy seeds. The blooms can last all summer. It is adapted to wet areas which makes it ideal for a water garden. It prefers to be in moist soil to water an inch over the soil. It can provide a nice pop of color to a bog area, steam, or container. The downside is that it is a tropical plant and will not return year after year. I have had some luck saving the seed and starting it again in the spring. I think it is a nice enough plant to use as an annual.

Another milkweed to try is Asclepias incarnata, also called Swamp Milkweed. As the name implies, it is also adapted to moist environments. The flower is more subdued but still a nice pink color. This plant is perennial and will return year after year. It does come up later than many other plants so don’t give up on it if you don’t see it coming back right away in the spring. It says it is up to 60” tall but mine doesn’t get that tall. Once it gets going by early to mid-summer, it can bloom to frost. Seed pods are similar to the Mexican butterfly. Mine has not shown a tendency to seed where it shouldn’t.