The Rock That Made The Ripples
Charles B. Thomas
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Charles B. Thomas
Following a term as IWGS immediate past president-director, I
declined to run for a board seat again, believing that new directors
should regularly come onto the board. At that point the board
voted a lifetime honorary directorship for me. I cherish this
While being active in IWGS, GWA, MGA, AHS, and Rotary International,
I was active with the Sons of the American Revolution, serving
as vice president and president. I also played the organ for
St. Joseph's Church, Buckeystown, Maryland. I continue to play
the organ at St. Rita's Church, Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania
since retiring in 1998. Interestingly, Blue Ridge Summit is on
the same first mountain ridge of the Appalachian Mountains as
Braddock Heights, 30 miles to the south where I lived until 1942.
the fall of 2000, after settling in our mountain cottage, I began
teaching in the local school district as a substitute teacher.
I teach all subjects except girls' physical education, mainly
at the middle school. Once or twice a week, I teach at the high
school. Occasionally I teach at an elementary school.
Normally I'm available for teaching daily, and almost daily they
need me. I love doing this, and it's fun for me. The students
help to keep me young at heart. I have no obligations before
or after the school day that ends at 2:30. No lesson plans. No
tests to make or check. No homework to review. No parent conferences.
No school politics.
With the 2006 founding of Water Gardeners International, Kit Knotts
invited me to serve as its Editor-in-Chief. Who can say no to
Kit? I couldn't, and now she's responsible for reinvorgorating
a sweet passion of mine -- spreading the good news about water
gardening, making more ripples.
And I do enjoy looking back at many fond memories of childhood,
college days, army days, being with Sally, our four daughters,
and their families including twelve grandchildren. Of course,
I've enjoyed flowers, and water gardens, particularly waterlilies
-- growing, propagating, selling, trading, and explaining to
others (the teacher in me) and belonging to and being with members
of IWGS. With all of this, I've enjoyed visiting all 50 states
and many places outside of the U. S., and all of the delightful
people I've had the privilege to meet.
Since retirement from Lilypons I limit my water garden lectures
mainly to water garden societies and a few large organizations.
Also, I teamed with son-in-law Richard to write:
Ortho's All About Building Waterfalls, Pools, and Streams,
Meredith Books, Des Moines, Iowa, 2002.
Creating Water Gardens. Meredith Books, Des Moines,
Iowa, 2003 (a contributing writer with Richard M. Koogle, Eleanore
Lewis, Kellie Sisson Snyder, Greg and Sue Speichert).
Other books include:
Water Gardens for Plants and Fish, TFH Publications,
Neptune City, New Jersey, 1988.
Water Gardens How to Design, Install, Plant, and Maintain
a Home Water Garden, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts
and New York, New York, 1994 (with co-author Jacqueline Heriteau).
Taylor's Weekend Gardening Guides Water Gardens How to
plan and plant a backyard pond. Houghton Mifflin Company,
Boston, Massachusetts and New York, New York, 1997.
Waterlilies introduced exclusively in the Lilypons Water Gardens
catalog during my time there include:
N. 'Charlene Strawn', N. 'Charles Thomas', N.
'Charlie's Choice', N. Colorado, N 'Diana', N.
'Dorothy Lamour', N. 'Fireball', N. 'Georgia Peach',
N. 'Innerlight', N. 'Josephine', N. 'Lily
Pons', N. 'Louise', N. 'Madame Ganna Walska', N.
'Margaret Mary', N. 'Mayla', N. 'Peace Lily', N.
'Peachglow', N. 'Rhonda Kay', N 'Rose Arey Hybrid',
N. 'Shirley Bryne', N. 'Starbright', N.
'Texas Dawn', N. 'Texas Shell Pink', N. 'Virginia',
N. 'Wood's Blue Goddess', and N. 'Wood's White
Please understand the importance of recognizing that in lands
around world, countless people have contributed to the outstanding
advances achieved toward making water gardening popular. Learn
about hybridizer Joseph
Bory Latour-Marliac, to name only one, whose work in Europe
began back in the 19th century. For a broad spectrum of amazing
famous and not-so-famous water gardening people, see Biographies
Index and Water
Here I'm only reporting on the small bit I have played amongst
so many others around the world who deserve great credit for
their substantial, outstanding contributions. I immensely appreciate
how those literal ripples in Grandmothers pool became transformed
into rewarding figurative ripples in the international pond of
Charles B. Thomas
Copyright 2004, 2006
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to Lilypons" by Dr. G. L. Thomas,