By Linda Siler and Kit Knotts
"My favorite water plants are the tropicals, for lilies
especially gigantea, 'Bagdad' and 'Queen of Siam'. Favorite marginals
are the taros. I love making collections of plants for container
gardening, using the miniature lilies and miniature marginals.
White tropical lilies and "Black Magic" taro are just
one combination that makes a really nice display! I also love
using decorative containers for marginals, not ugly nursery pots.
I do a lot of experimenting with different types of plants in
the water garden, such as using "Stella D'Oro" day
lilies in water, small 'Bald Cypress' trees, caladiums and impatiens.
"I personally feel that interest in the tropical lilies in the northern zones is just beginning. I would love to see Victoria used in more public water gardens. We have a Japanese Garden here in Springfield with three nice sized lakes (about an acre and a half combined) and a Vic or two would be awesome. The Vics are still a mystery plant to most water gardeners other than those who visit the Botanical Gardens.
"I went to work for Jerry O'Quinn at O'Quinn's Water
Gardens and Orchids in 1991. We have 45 growing ponds and six
sales tanks for koi and goldfish. We are one of the larger water
garden centers in Missouri. We sell a full line of pumps, liners,
filters, plants, fish and all the sundry items. We sell about
100 different varieties of orchids, have about 5,000 plants and
I love them all!"
Instrumental in establishing the Springfield Watergarden Society in 1995, Linda has watched it grow from 14 members to over 500. She has been a feature writer for Helen Nash's Pond & Garden magazine and is a popular speaker on water gardening in Missouri, Arkansas and Kansas. As a member of Springfield's Sister City (sister city is Isisaki, Japan) group she helps with the annual fall Japanese Festival.
"Several years ago I began working with a wonderful lady in Springfield named Sister Lorraine. She takes care of our homeless community. She and I got together and had the water garden society build and donate a 500 gallon pond for their park. This park has annuals, perennials, statues, and a quite area for the homeless. Little kids especially love the pond and the fish. The people who reside in the housing areas around the garden take care of the pond and plants. We donated the initial water plants for the pond and each summer I take over a night bloomer for them.
"I also helped get a waterfall and plaque dedicated in memory of pro golfer Payne Stewart, a native Springfieldian whom I knew personally (Stewart was killed in a plane crash in 1999). Before I went to work for Jerry I was a member of the Ladies' Professional Golf Association. I was a teaching professional who got very tired of the lesson tee and always loved flowers. I quit my job, took off for one year and then came to work for Jerry. I've had a fun life so far along very different avenues!"