I received a surprise phone call from Lynn Warren, Clyde's secretary, in June 2003. She had remembered meeting me at the TAPS conference and had already taken up residence in Sun City. Clyde's house was almost complete, she said, the ranch was sold, and she asked if we be interested in driving down to Bandera to rescue some of the water lilies for our community's ponds.
Sun City has a series of three 50,000 total gallon cement ponds with a connecting 300 foot meandering stream behind our social center. We received permission from the Dell Web Corporation to establish the special water garden that I had always envisioned as a show place for water gardeners from all over Texas.
Traveling again to Bandera, we collected about 20 cultivars - at least two plants of each variety - plus an assortment of marginal pond plants. There were six Marliac hybrids - 'Robinsoni', 'Sultan', 'Marliacea Flammea', 'Comanche', 'Marliacea Chromatella' and 'Splendida' - five Slocum hybrids - 'Perry's Baby Red', 'Perry's Pink', 'Pink Sensation', 'Perry's Super Red', and 'Perry's Pink Heaven' - five of Kirk Strawn's hybrids - 'Clyde Ikins', 'Bernise Ikins', 'Betsy Sakata', 'Mayla', and 'Little Sue' - plus 'Hal Miller', 'James Brydon' and several tropicals, all selected by Dr. Ikins.
That weekend I potted up the water lilies. It was a pleasant job under the shade of some big live oaks. Deer would sometimes appear out of the native areas when it was very quiet. One by one the newly potted lilies went into the upper pond. Gradually Clyde's plants started to leaf out and bloom. All was right with the world.
About two weeks later, I noticed that some of the waterlilies had been grazed by deer during the night. Summer is usually when they get up enough nerve to wade into ponds to graze. I should have expected it. I enjoyed the sight of them while I was potting the lilies, but now it's a major battle and the deer are winning. Lack of leaf coverage of the pond surface has resulted in an algae bloom and the overgrowth of underwater grasses. Many of the pots have come home with me and are crowded (but protected) in our pond where we have solved the deer problem with motion-activated sprinklers. This was not possible in so big an area as our community ponds. I'm still hoping that the deer will let up and Clyde's plants will return to health in the fall, certainly by next spring.
As I write this, Clyde has been in his new Sun City mini-ranchette for about a week. Yesterday we had a long chat about all of his accomplishments and I brought home many articles written about him. Two are already on-line and can be accessed by clicking on the following Texas A&M University links.
(The Story of Blooming Friendships)
we bring you
The Clyde Ikins Collection of Aquatic Images
Our World Loses A Legend (PDF - Get Abobe Acrobat Reader)
by Duane Eaton