1999 Our Adventure - Part 1 of 6

 It Begins Again
Click images to enlarge

Today, February 18, 2000, we officially close the book on our 1999 adventure with Victoria. We've just dug up our 'Adventure' and 'Longwood Hybrid' from 1999, victims finally of the "turning" of their crowns in mid-January and a subsequent very cool period. A cruziana remains alive, small but with good color and rims, in a pond slightly warmer than Reflection, the oceanfront home of our biggest Victorias.

We must mention again that we are hobbyist water gardeners, a family physician and horse trainer with no background in horticulture or botany. Our interest and enthusiasm greatly superseded our knowledge coming into this project. Ignorance may be bliss but it also leads to a complete lack of constraint in experimentation.

Brainstorming ideas with the Trey and Nancy Styler, Joe Summers, Rich Sacher, Stan Skinger and the Victoria email list, with input from Dr. Ed Schneider and Dr. Jeff Osborn, has led us in lots of interesting directions. We have been forced to add a basic botany book to our expanding library and keep a dictionary right at hand when we try to read the more scientific studies. (Still a struggle!) One of our goals is to put what we have observed and learned in terms we (and hopefully you) can understand.

The observations, opinions and conclusions that we pass on here are ours and ours alone. We don't imply that anyone mentioned agrees with us except as stated specifically. Though backed up with extensive documentation, our ideas are not proven in the strictest scientific sense and are simply intended to add to the body of knowledge about Victoria and to stimulate others.

In separate articles, we will chronicle the fabulous new Victoria hybrid 'Adventure', discoveries we made using microscope and digital camera together, the synergistic development of a new method of emasculation that yielded a surprising bonus, the sad but enchanting demise of a cruziana and some interesting looks at Euryale ferox. Perhaps the most exciting new development is a new method of germinating seeds described in "Open The Door!"

Our 1999 lineup of plants was anchored by 1998 amazonica, seed collected directly from the Amazon, which made it successfully through the winter and was, for a second season, our primary amazonica parent. It finally died in early January 2000, almost two years old.

We grew a 14 plants to blooming size, four cruzianas, two amazonicas, two plants from seeds hoped to be randii but seemed no different from amazonica to us, two 'Adventures' (a x c), two 'Longwood Hybrids' (c x a), one 'Challenger' (L x c) and one 'Discovery' (L x a). Very late in the season we were able to grow one cruziana from seeds collected in Argentina by Walter Pagels and Butch Weaver to floating leaf stage but lost it in the aftermath of two hurricanes.

 V. 'Challenger'

'Challenger' and 'Discovery' were new hybrids in their debut year, of immense interest because previous thinking [Myths & Misunderstandings] had deemed them "impossible" to make or "unviable" if seeds could be produced, based on uneven chromosome numbers. They looked just as you would expect -- like three-quarter species.

 V. 'Discovery'

Our largest pad was produced by 'Adventure' at 46"; we had a total of 230 flowers and produced nearly 15,000 seeds. We grew plants in everything from added-back pond bottom to 10 gallon and 10 inch pots. We grew them in full sun and almost full shade, warm to hot water and cooler. Some did really well and others didn't, for reasons we couldn't figure out. Detailed records are available.

There were a number of observations made in the 1998 season that we hoped to look at again in 1999. One had to do with second night pollinations producing more seeds than first night pollinations. This again proved to be true here, though early in the season we began to do most pollinations on the second morning (between the first and second nights). We even propped some flowers out of the water with styrofoam blocks to make third morning pollinations, when the flowers should have been finished. These produced seeds in numbers equal to or better than second day pollinations. What we did and why we did it are detailed in "The Ring Thing."

We made numerous crosses of both day and night blooming waterlilies to various Victorias. None met with success. We had numerous opportunities to try taking pollen from Euryale ferox to Victoria. Most were totally unsuccessful but several produced single seeds. We should conclude these were accidental self-pollinations but will try to sprout the seeds to be sure. We paid far more attention to Euryale than in previous years, discussed in "Can It Happen?"

We wanted to look again at the viability of early cruziana flowers. We have felt (and documented) in the past that the first few in the bloom sequence will not set seed, either selfed or crossed. This again was the case here and, in similar experiments, Joe Summers found the same thing. We also looked at and used the pollen in crosses. Though it germinated "in vitro", (see "Scope Stuff") it did not produce seeds.

Our season was substantially disrupted by Hurricane Floyd the middle of September. The plants promptly stopped blooming, obviously putting their energy into replacing their severely damaged pads. A month later, recovered and resuming bloom, they were again devastated by Hurricane Irene. 'Adventure' and 'Longwood Hybrid' recovered to bloom well into November but the other plants did not. Most declined and died in a fairly short time, maturing their pods first.

It Begins Again | Adventure The Hybrid | Scope Stuff | The Ring Thing
Enchanted Forest | Can It Happen? |
Open The Door!

Our Adventure Overview | 1998 The Adventure Begins
1999 The Adventure Continues | 2000 A Very Bad Year | 2001 A Banner Year
2002 An Even Better Year | 2003 We Like It Like This | 2004 Trust
2005 Recovery | 2006 Normal? | 2007 Weird | 2008 Year of the Hare
2009 Year of the (White) Tortoise

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