The Story of
(or how the Clyde Ikins Slide Collection
came to Victoria-Adventure)
by Duane Eaton
Click images to enlarge
(Images unless otherwise specified from
the slide collection of and ©
Dr. Clyde Ikins)
In the world of water gardening, the name N. 'Clyde Ikins'
means a beautiful and frequently blooming hardy water lily. Hybridized
by Dr. Kirk Strawn, it was named after his good friend and fellow
water lily grower, Dr. W. Clyde Ikins. In south Texas, we are
fortunate to have the real man behind the name of the plant.
Dr. Ikins lived in Bandera, which is about 40 miles out of San
Antonio. His place included his home and business, and was called
Dr. Jerry Parsons, the horticulture specialist with the Texas
Cooperative Extension and immensely popular radio garden
show co-host, was a speaker at a meeting of the Water Garden
Club of South Texas. Jerry started talking about Dr. Clyde Ikins
and the enormous influence he had in the world of water gardening.
Jerry said that Clyde was inducted into the Texas Agriculture
Hall of Fame. To emphasize Clyde's impact, Jerry said that while
everybody else had been inducted after their death, Clyde was
inducted while he was still alive. As Jerry likes to point out,
"Clyde is so big that he didn't even have to die to get
the top recognition in Texas agriculture!" Jerry mentioned
about the extensive slide collection that Clyde had. During other
talks with Jerry, he would many times mention Clyde and his slides.
Through his employment in the Texas Cooperative Extension
and his work with all forms of mass media, Jerry became friends
with Clyde when doing television programs and newspaper articles
about water lilies. Two of the watergarden features that appeared
on television can be seen at Waterlily Gardening in Containers and Waterlily Varieties. A news-article about
waterlilies written by Dr. Parsons can be seen here. Over the years, Dr. Ikins became the
water lily expert for local media information and events. He
was already a world-renowned water lily expert to everyone else.
I saw the impact of these slides at an educational forum at
the San Antonio Botanical Garden. Co-sponsored by the Water Garden
Club of South Texas, Clyde was one of the main speakers at Water
Gardening Day. The local newspaper had given the event an incredible
amount of publicity the Saturday prior. The article mentioned
how Clyde would be giving a presentation from his slide collection.
Water Gardening Day was held in a second story meeting room
at the Botanical Garden that held 65 people in a seating arrangement.
Thanks to all of the publicity, over 130 people were crammed
in that room to watch and hear Clyde's presentation. (To this
day, I'm amazed and VERY thankful that the floor didn't collapse!)
Needless to say, he did not disappointment a single person. The
"oohs" and "awws" made me think that I was
at a fireworks show.
N. 'Clyde Ikins'
N. 'Bernice Ikins'
The Ikins Waterlilies
Hybridized and named by Kirk Strawn
I. 'Clyde Ikins'
I. 'Bernice Ikins'
Hybridized and named by Kirk Strawn
Images provided by and ©
In the years that followed, I always heard people talk about
that presentation and the incredibly beautiful pictures of the
water lilies. My personal friendship with Dr. Jerry Parsons continued
to grow due to my involvement in the local water garden community.
Jerry continually expressed to me his concern about what would
happen to those slides after Clyde's death. This was too much
of a wealth of information to lose.
Jerry decided that he would personally take a step to insure
that people would always be able to enjoy Clyde's slide collection.
He received permission from Clyde to have each and every slide
scanned and digitized. Jerry would then place the images on his
web site, which is a major source of information on various types
of plants. (Promo for Jerry: His site, PlantAnswers.com, was discovered by the nice
folks at Microsoft. They contacted him in 2004 to have his site
as a component of the gardening section of their Microsoft Network.)
Bernise & Clyde Ikins
Jerry and a helper traveled to Bandera to borrow Clyde's slides.
They returned to San Antonio with boxes upon boxes upon boxes
of slides. The slides were taken to the San Antonio Botanical
Garden, where the massive project began to digitize them for
the enjoyment of future water garden fans. Being the good scientist
he is, Clyde had long since labeled each and every slide. Thanks
to his careful record keeping, each digitized image could be
As one might expect, after spending countless hours on this
project, the flowers all started to blur together. Jerry likes
to tell people about the time that the person who was working
with the project said to him, "Dr. Parsons, these pictures
are all starting to look alike."
I was very honored when upon the completion of the digitization
project; Jerry gave me a CD of the entire collection. Being one
of the "charter contributors" of Victoria-Adventure,
I strongly felt that if these pictures belonged anywhere on the
Internet, it was on the Victoria-Adventure web site. I called
Kit and talked to her about the collection and asked if she would
be interested in adding it to Victoria-Adventure. She was most
certainly agreeable to the task.
Jerry was already aware of Victoria-Adventure from my constant
talking about it. (He had long ago added a link on his site over
to Victoria-Adventure.) When I asked him if it would be possible
to put Clyde's collection on the site, he said that there would
be no problem and emailed me with his written permission.
After all of this approval process, Mother Nature visited
Florida time and time again, leaving Kit and Ben with other issues
to contend with. At this very challenging time, I didn't think
that a web site was a very high item on their priority list.
In early January 2005, I went ahead and sent the CD to Kit. If
nothing else, it would give her a break from constantly rebuilding
from all of the hurricanes.
To say that Kit was excited to see the actual collection is,
shall we say, an understatement. She was VERY excited,
as it was larger than she had ever thought. I think that I had
only referenced it as a "large number" of images. The
CD that she received had a total of 34 directories with 1,667
files totaling 324 MB of space. WOW!
On a personal note, my trips to Lakeside Gardens are some
of my fondest memories of my water gardening "career".
I have many pictures from those trips, and one day will have
a feature on Lakeside Gardens on my personal web site. I think
that I went there something like six times, which simply was
not enough. As one friend said as we walked up some steps to
one of the major formal display areas, "My God, it's like
we've died and gone to heaven." It was truly an amazing
The saddest trip was my last, which was literally the day
before the movers showed up to move Clyde away from his beloved
property. I am honored to have been able to make those trips,
and am just as honored to be able to contribute Clyde's pictures
to Victoria-Adventure. Many thanks to my good friend, Dr. Jerry
Parsons, for his infinite vision, and special thanks to Clyde
for giving his permission to Jerry to digitize his slides. What
a living donation to his passion!
For additional information on the individuals involved, click
here for Dr. Clyde Ikins, click here for Dr. Jerry Parsons, and click here
for Duane Eaton.
Ikins Collection Main
- Dr. Clyde Ikins
Dr. Ikins passed away in July of 2005
World Loses A Legend (PDF - Get Abobe Acrobat Reader)
by Duane Eaton