Exclusive Waterlily Collection at
On the cover: Nymphaea 'Senorita',
N. 'Camelot' and
2005 Best New Waterlily N. 'Blue Aster' - Photo by Kit
New Orleans Botanical Garden Creates a
Click images to enlarge
This summer the freshly restored New Orleans Botanical Garden
features an exclusive World Premier Exhibit of Australian Charles
Winch's spectacular original waterlilies.
Charles rightfully lays claim to creating more tropical waterlily
varieties than anyone, including the renowned George Pring, late
of the Missouri Botanical Garden in St Louis, though many of
his cultivars are relatively unknown outside of Australia.
Behind-the-scenes dedication, determination, and perseverance
by a small host of committed people at opposite ends of the earth
are making the stunning display a reality. Most of the amazing
waterlilies in the Collection have not been seen by the public
For decades, Charles quietly practiced his obsession -- hybridizing
eye-catching waterlilies. He specifically aimed to improve the
variety of colors in both flowers and leaves of day blooming
tropical waterlilies, and to increase the number of petals per
flower. Largely shunning the commercialization of his lilies,
he proceeded for his own pleasure and for that of his family
and friends -- some lucky enough to occasionally receive a waterlily
from Charles, or even to have one named for them.
N. 'White Delight'
N. 'Anne Emmet'
These are among the few Winch cultivars available in the trade.
Margaret Edwards, Charles Winch, Noelene
Pullen with Charles' 2005 awards
With his health failing somewhat, daughters Noelene Pullen and
Margaret Edwards encouraged Charles to enter several waterlilies
in the 2005 International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society's
Competition for New Waterlilies. His 'Blue Aster' won as Best
New Waterlily. Also in 2005, he won election to the IWGS Hall
of Fame and was honored with the Araleun Award, given for excellence
in water gardening in Australia.
Ben Knotts, Darcy and Craig Presnell, Kit Knotts,
Craig Presnell, an award-winning hybridizer himself, has two
idols, George Pring and Charles Winch. For many years Craig has
added every Winch cultivar he could find to his personal collection.
However, since so few ever left Australia, the number has been
small. Craig spearheaded the nomination of Charles Winch for
the Hall of Fame, initially made by John and Mary Mirgon, and
did not rest until Charles was inducted, recognizing his outstanding
Inspired by the knowledge that several new Winch cultivars were
coming to the US, Craig conceived the idea of assembling a special
Collection for summer 2006 display -- another tribute to the
man and work he so admires. He made inquiries around the world
about acquiring other Winch hybrids.
Enter Roger Bagley, an Australian aquatics grower with extensive
knowledge and experience with tropical waterlilies. Roger also
collects Winch lilies and was honored to name several unreleased
hybrids that Charles gave him. He eagerly joined the effort to
assemble the display Collection by sending tubers to the US and
urging his friend John Hill to provide them as well.
The four competition lilies, 'Blue Aster', 'Camelot', 'Regal'
and 'Senorita', which Nelson's Water Gardens in Texas grew extremely
well, were sent to Kit Knotts. Sadly, a fifth, 'Kit's After the
Storm', still refuses to break dormancy. Nelson's continued to
propagate the plants from the original tubers and sent the smaller
plants and tubers to Kit along with the large plants.
N. 'Blue Aster'
As custodian, Kit's two-fold job was to over-winter the original
plants for potential 2006 display and, with Craig Presnell, to
keep the small plants and tubers going. Craig has been the primary
grower for the display. Kit kept a web journal so Noelene and
Margaret could share the progress with Charles. They selected
several additional cultivars to send to Craig for the Collection.
New Orleans Botanical Garden
not long after Hurricane Katrina.
Then Hurricane Katrina, that disaster of unbelievable magnitude,
struck. New Orleans, including its Botanical Garden, was under
water. Concern for friends there, especially Rich Sacher, overwhelmed
any other consideration. Still, waterlilies grow on so we continued
to plan the Collection.
For more than 20 years, Rich has been donating and maintaining
the waterlilies at the New Orleans Botanic Garden. After Katrina,
when Rich could finally return to New Orleans, he witnessed the
Garden's horrific destruction. Incredibly, the waterlilies were
Through the Herculean efforts of hundreds of volunteers and the
replacement of thousands of plants, NOBG resumes its former glory.
It is hosting the Charles Winch Collection throughout the summer
the Winch Collection from Tuber
& Tuber Propagation Illustrated by Craig Presnell
Kit Knotts' Web Journal of Building the Collection
& Repotting Illustrated
Katrina, Soon After, and Spring 2006
by NOBG photographers and Rich Sacher
Profiles - Charles Winch | Craig
Presnell | Kit
Knotts | Rich Sacher