March 2021 Newsletter

March 18th - Water Gardens of France with the International Waterlily & Water Gardening Society (IWGS)

By: Dorothy Martinez & Tamara Kilbane

In late August of 2019, CWGS board members Dorothy Martinez and Tamara Kilbane had the pleasure of attending the International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society (IWGS) Symposium in France.

Join us for our virtual meeting on Thursday, March 18th on Zoom starting at 7:00 pm to hear about our adventures in the birthplace of hardy waterlily hybridizing!

Starting at 7:00 pm we will make introductions, share a calendar of planned CWGS 2021 meetings and events, share photos taken during our visits to the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris, home of eight large waterlily murals painted by Claude Monet; Giverny - home to Monet’s home and gardens, including the waterlily pond that inspired his famous paintings; Latour-Marliac Nursery founded by Joseph Bory Latour-Marliac, the father of hardy waterlily hybridizing, in 1875 and still operational today; Jardins d’eau in Carsac-Aillac - a beautiful botanical garden filled with aquatic plants.

There will also be photos of some of the pre- and post-Symposium activities in Paris, Nîmes, home of La Bambouseraie en Cévennes – a unique bamboo-based garden, Orange, Avignon, numerous Roman era structures, and Versailles - home of the famous Chateau and Gardens of King Louis XIV – the Sun King.

Please contact Dorothy Martinez 2 – 3 days before the meeting to obtain the Zoom Meeting ID and Password.

For more information or any questions, please call Dorothy Martinez at (303) 279-3137 or

Seminar - Dividing, Planting, & Overwintering Your Water Plants

By: Dorothy Martinez

One of our members, Kim Kimpton, conducted an informal survey in the fall of 2019 about what members of the Colorado Water Garden Society would like to know more about. We heard from numerous members that they want more information about the basics of water gardening.
Have you ever wondered how to divide water plants? How to plant them? What to plant them in (i.e., soil and containers)? What to do with them during the winter? Other questions about water gardening in general?

If you have asked yourself any of the questions above, this Seminar is for you. We will be holding a free (to CWGS Members) Seminar at Hudson Gardens on Saturday, March 20th from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm to answer any questions you may have about dividing, planting, and care of your various water plants. Hudson Gardens is located at 6115 S. Sante Fe Drive, Littleton, CO 80120.

Colorado Water Garden Society members and Hudson Gardens’ volunteers will be available to demonstrate dividing and planting techniques. Meet us at the greenhouse beginning at 9:00 am. The greenhouse is located just west of Monet’s Place on the southwest portion of Hudson Gardens. We will have one or two people available from 9:00 am to 9:15 am to meet attendees in front of the Visitor Center as the Visitor Center does not open until 10:00 am. If you arrive after 9:15 am, please enter Hudson Gardens through the gate located just to the left (south) of the Visitor Center.

To ensure we have enough supplies and people on hand, please register for the free (to CWGS Members) Seminar through the Hudson Gardens website at . Be sure to use the following code CWG2021FREE when registering, so you won’t be charged.

Hudson Gardens has earned its 5 star COVID rating meaning it is adhering to all enhanced safety guidelines through the local county health department. That said, all attendees will be expected to wear masks at all times (whether indoors or outdoors) and maintain 6 foot social distancing when possible.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact Dorothy Martinez at (303) 279-3137 or In the event we need to reschedule the Seminar due to inclement weather, you will be contacted by Hudson Gardens with more information.

We will also be offering Pontabbs (an aquatic plant fertilizer) for sale in bags of 25 for $3, 50 for $5, and 100 for $10. Only cash or checks will be accepted for payment. If you wish to buy fertilizer tabs, please bring you cash or check.

Please come with your curiosity and questions. We hope to see you there!

Get Wet - Past & Present Programs

By: Jim Arneill

Despite recent encouraging news about starting to return to normal happenings, the decision was made to cancel this year’s “Get Wet - Water Gardening Fun in 2021” that was scheduled for April 15th in Mitchell Hall located within the Denver Botanic Gardens. We look forward to offering a fun, interesting, and informative event next year in April.

“Get Wet” became an annual spring event in 2006 to help kick off the water gardening season. A variety of topics have been presented to support the mission of “providing education about water gardening to the general public.”

Some of the more popular programs have included presentations about incorporating lotuses and cannas into a pond, container gardens, new products, and PowerPoint visits to various botanic gardens around the world.

Tamara Kilbane, Curator of the Aquatic Collection at Denver Botanic Gardens, has also given periodic updates on the International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society’s New Water Lily Competition.

Each program normally concludes by sharing information about upcoming CWGS events and helpful available resources. These include a variety of informational brochures, membership applications, and opportunities to volunteer at Denver Botanic Gardens or Hudson Gardens.

As it becomes safer to host events with larger numbers, CWGS looks forward to hosting fun and informative events like “Get Wet!”

Public Gardens - A Storied History with a Vibrant Tomorrow: Nymphaea at Longwood Gardens

By: Katie Mobley

As one of the great gardens of the world, Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, USA, is a place rooted in beauty and horticultural expertise, where garden design, horticulture, education, and the arts interplay. It’s also a place cultivated by its dedication to learn from the natural world, preserve beauty, and in turn share that beauty with as many as possible ... a commitment illustrated by the long and storied history of Nymphaea at Longwood.

Founded in 1906 by Pierre S. du Pont, Longwood is an expression of all du Pont found inspiring, meaningful, and beautiful. A visionary in the field of public gar-dens, du Pont drew his inspiration from his experiences and travels and today his innovative spirit, passion for knowledge, and respect for the land collectively form the principles that guide Longwood’s horticultural activities. Today, Longwood welcomes more than 1.5 million guests each year. In addition to serving as a leader in horticultural excellence, it’s also a premier performance venue within the Philadelphia region and a center of learning with world-class educational opportunities for both children and adults.

While Longwood stewards a living plant collection of more than 10,000 taxa, it also continually seeks to expand its collection while caring for its plants and sharing plant materials with other horticultural institutions. Throughout the years, Longwood has prioritized certain groups of plants, based on their importance to Longwood’s overall collection and to the preservation of its horticultural heritage and legacy. Designed as core collections and ranging in focus from boxwood to orchid, they receive special attention with regard to their development, management, and display ... and Longwood’s Nymphaea collection is one such collection.

Longwood’s Nymphaea collection spans more than 1,200 individual plants with nearly 100 different taxa. The majority consists of hybrids, especially non-hardy tropical types, and containing many historic American hybrids, resulting from Longwood’s historic collection of Nymphaea hybrids and working with such well-known experts in the field such as the late George H. Pring, the late Perry Slocum, and Ken Landon. This diverse location is proudly showcased in one of Longwood’s most iconic spaces. The summer Waterlily Display — a series of five dramatic pools with 18,000 square feet of display space designed by Sir Peter Shepheard — is tucked into a protective court-yard accessed through Longwood’s 4.5 acre Conservatory. Typically open from late May through mid-October, this stunning outdoor garden showcases aquatics plants from all over the world as storied as they are beautiful, including one of the stars of the show ... majestic Victoria, a massive, architectural water-platter steeped in folklore and intrigue.

Longwood’s long history of growing, hybridizing, and displaying Nymphaea dates back to 1957 under the leadership of the late horticultural icon Patrick Nutt, a founding member of the International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society and Longwood staff member from 1957 until 1995. A consummate plantsman, Nutt spent years developing Longwood’s spectacular Victoria display, developing and cultivating techniques to grow Victoria in captivity, and garnering an international reputation for his work with aquatic plants. Since 1991, Tim Jennings, an understudy and friend of Nutt’s, has served as the curator of the collection. Nationally recognized as an expert in the field, Jennings is known for his teaching on Nymphaea and skillfully guides the growth and longevity of Longwood’s Nymphaea collection.

Under Jennings’ care, Longwood makes every effort to grow only the highest quality Nymphaea and strives to keep improving through research ... but while research is critical to this collection’s viability, Jennings’ real objective as collection curator is quite simple: “It’s about getting as many people interested and intrigued by these natural wonders as we can.”

In its Waterlily Display Longwood proudly showcases the mighty Victoria, which is of particular importance as the hybrid Victoria ‘Longwood Hybrid’ was created at Longwood Gardens by Nutt in 1961. The first garden to successfully hybridize Victoria amazonica and Victoria cruziana, Longwood has repeated this hand-pollinated cross every year since 1960, growing new plants from seeds indoors each mid-January so a new crop can go on display for public viewing starting each year in late May.

The beauty of Victoria ‘Longwood Hybrid’ can be seen far beyond Longwood’s Waterlily Display, as for the last five decades Longwood has shared its seeds with more than 140 gardens around the world ... resulting in not only the sharing of seed that is not readily available commercially, but allowing for even more public garden visitors worldwide—from Missouri Botanic Garden and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew - to see Victoria firsthand.

Dozens of these garden recipients have been able to germinate Longwood’s seed and in term widen Longwood’s educational reach, inspiring a growing global community of learners. In addition, Longwood distributes large quantities of water-platter seed to the International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society for distribution amongst its members, further supporting the widespread education of this amazing plant ... and that, in itself, is a beautiful thing.

About the Author Katie Mobley is the Senior Marketing and Communications Specialist, Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, PA.

Reprinted with permission from International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society Water Garden Journal, Volume 35, Number 4 (Winter 2020), Pages 35 – 37.

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