The Frederick-News Post, Wed, Oct 3, 1984

Lilypons president announces formation of water-lily society


The water gardens at Lilypons nestled between the Monocacy River and Sugarloaf Mountain, are now part of an international network: the Water-Lily Society.

Lilypons president Charles B.Thomas recently made the announcement of the society's formation during a reception held at his home off Buckeystown Pike for Irish water gardening expert Gordon T. Ledbetter.

Thomas has been working on organization of the society to promote water-lilies and water gardening for two years, and Ledbetter's visit simply provided the catalyst for formal recognition of the society. The society already has members in 24 states, the District of Columbia, and five foreign countries.

Walter Pagels of San Diego, Calif., will serve as the organization's president, while Thomas will fill the role of executive secretary.

What will the society do? Thomas said it will produce a newsletter edited by Steven Davis of American Horticulturist magazine, and it will conduct open pool days for tours by the community (similar to garden tours). An international water gardening symposium also is in the works for 1985.

But the organization's primary function will be as a community resource, Thomas said, to exchange information and plant materials among its members, landscape architects and everyday gardeners.

Ledbetter, for example, had time at the reception to answer a question about maintaining clear water in a patio pond or water garden.

One of the most common complaints by water gardeners, murky dark green water results when algae naturally begin to feed on nutrients in the water.

But "if you put a plant in that will compete with the algae (for nutrients), it will defeat them," Ledbetter said.

Among the most effective of these underwater plants, known as oxygenators, are the Canadian pondweed, the spiked water milfoil, and the curled pondweed, he said.

Ledbetter said he was proud to be the first Irish member of the society, and John B. Mirgon, president of the 40-member Colorado Water Garden Society, said he looks forward to an increased interest in and sharing of ideas on aquatic plants.

In this country, Dr Marc Cathey, director of the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C., says the major trend in landscaping today is the use of water gardens.

Apparently there's something quite pleasing about a system with so many components: statuary, rippling water, still water, lilies and lily pads resting the surface, and goldfish darting about among the underwater plants below.

Another possible product of the society's activities, Mirgon said, is that an avid member could hybridize and improve native plants now used in water gardens. Everyone would benefit from more plant diversity and heartier varieties.

Article provided by Charles B. Thomas

The Rock That made The Ripples - Charles B. Thomas

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