The Rock That Made The Ripples
Charles B. Thomas

Page 5

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All images provided by and © 2004 Charles B. Thomas


Enjoying Life

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 position.

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.

In 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 Knight'.

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 Gardening Friends.

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 Grandmother’s pool became transformed into rewarding figurative ripples in the international pond of water gardening.

Charles B. Thomas
Copyright 2004, 2006

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