Werner Wallner
Königsbrunn, Bavaria

By Kit Knotts with Werner Wallner
Click images to enlarge

Left to right - Werner, Carmen
(a friend from University)
& Manfred

Email has revolutionized communication. How else would we find someone in Germany who would send us a comic book in Latin and challenge our dim high school memories of it to read the story?!?!? (We confess to having Rich Sacher read us parts of "Asterix" in spite of our vow to tough it out.)

Over the last year or so, we have had a fun, funny and fascinating exchange of email correspondence with aquatic plants grower Werner Wallner of Königsbrunn, Bavaria. He and his partner Manfred Schmid have a commercial nursery with 1,500 varieties of aquatic and marginal plants. The sending of "Asterix" came out of a discussion about matching genders of Latin botanical names (which Werner knew and I either never knew or forgot). 

It didn't take long to figure out that Werner knows his plants, knows his plant names and has an interest in sharing knowledge on a world-class level. Whether it's lotus from China, Euryale from Siberia or Nymphaea and Victoria from Florida, he wants to try it, share it with botanic gardens and feed back about the results in Bavaria.

Werner Wallner
demonstrates the best way
to pick waterlilies

Manfred Schmid 

Though Bavaria is part of Germany, its mind set and climate are unique. "The west and north of Germany have an Atlantic climate, while Bavaria is more continental. Our climate is more extreme, the winters colder, the summers warmer and we get more sunshine.

"Our nursery is situated in the south-west of Bavaria at an altitude of 600 meters (about 2,000') above sea level. It's the region with most hours of sunshine in Bavaria. Most people will suspect that our wine-growing regions have more sunshine, but they haven't - we have the sunshine but no wine at all. During winter temperatures often drop to minus 20° C (-4F) for a few days; during summer they may rise to 35° C (95F) for a few weeks."

In winter 2001, Werner wrote. "This year we have lots of snow for Christmas, and we even had the coldest night for more than 130 years: minus 45 ° C (that's minus 49 °F) at the coldest spot in Bavaria. It's good to sit warm and comfortable with a glass of hot wine at home on such a night."

Another time, he wrote, "This picture of my family that was taken around the time when they dug our first ponds. They were farmers and during winter, when they had less work, they started to dig three ponds in our forest, each about 0.5 hectares (1.24 acres). It took the family several winters to finish this job. The ponds were of course not used for water lilies. Our region was extremely poor at that time, so the ponds were used to breed carp. Later my mother kept ducks and geese there, and when times became easier, somebody planted the first water lily there. Just one - for decoration. The ponds still belonged to the carps and ducks.

"For some reason this water lily infected the whole family with the water gardening virus. My uncle started a collection of water lilies in the 60's and 70's when water gardening was not in fashion at all. At that time it was impossible to buy named water lily hybrids. They were sold by colour only. It became a habit in the family that everybody who found an interesting water lily or aquatic plant brought it to my uncle. It did lead to several catastrophes, for example when he planted Elodea densa into his ponds. Of course he didn't know the name of the plant nor did he expect it to be invasive."

With Werner, the attraction isn't just for Nymphaea but for marginal plants as well. "I grow lots of moisture loving plants like Asian Primulas, Gentiana sino-ornata cultivars, Empetrum and many more." Images of these are included in his extensive galleries.

More images of Schoenbrunn

In 2002, Werner was a major force in building the Nymphaea and Nelumbo collection of the Imperial Castle Schoenbrunn at Vienna, plate at the left. He also provides plants and seeds for the collection of the Royal Botanical Garden in the "Nymphenburg" ("Fortress of the Nymphs") area of Munich, the garden a foundation of the Royal Family of Bavaria. 

Plagued with flooding in 2002 and a need to move to larger quarters , the future of his own nursery is currently somewhat uncertain. We are sure that a plantsman of this caliber can overcome all obstacles to achieve his dream and that we will soon include images of the new nursery on these pages.

Karolina Scheufele
Karolina Scheufele, Werner's mother, "senior chief" of the nursery and the girl right in the middle of the family picture above, recently celebrated her 80th birthday. This new water lily cultivar was named in her honor on that day. The future is as bright as this lovely flower. 

N. 'Karolina Scheufele'

Note November 2003: Over the two years of this web site's existence, Werner has provided more than 700 fabulous images to our galleries. We have assembled just some of our favorites in special galleries, indexed below.

Werner Wallner's Galleries Main Page
Werner's Web Site

Waterlilies | Lotus | Aquatic Plants | Victoria | Our Adventure With Victoria
Water Gardening | Water Gardening Friends | New This Month
Kit & Ben Knotts | Our Garden | Search The Site | Home 
Email Discussion List