Web Journal of Assembling the Winch Collection
by Kit Knotts - Click images to enlarge

Craig Presnell's vision of a special exhibition of Australian hybridizer Charles Winch's spectacular waterlily cultivars at a major American botanic garden began to take shape long in advance. Though Craig would propagate and grow most of the plants, I was designated "caregiver" to the plants Charles' daughters Noelene Pullen and Margaret Edwards sent on Charles' behalf for the 2005 International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society's Competition for New Waterlilies. Following the competition, the lilies needed a home that offered a good opportunity for over-wintering, just in case they were needed for the 2006 Winch Collection display at New Orleans Botanical Garden. I created this Journal to keep everyone up to date on how the plants were doing and other plans for the Exhibition.

August 4, 2005 - Plants arrive from Texas. The large ones are temporarily anchored to the bottom of ponds with rocks. The small ones and the tubers are floated in a propagation pond.
August 6, 2005 - Craig and Darcy Presnell came today to evaluate the plants and to make a plan for getting them ready for New Orleans. We decided I should plant the big ones in smallish pots to limit overgrowth. I would try to tuber the small ones.

'Blue Aster' and 'Regal' "rocked" down in Dune.

'Senorita' and 'Camelot' "rocked" down in Riches.

Craig and Darcy look at the small plants.
August 7, 2006 - I potted the four big plants in three gallon pots without holes, putting them back about where they are "rocked". Later in the year as the Victorias take up less space, I'll put them all in Dune, giving them the best possible chance of over-wintering. Later in the day, the flowers on the big plants opened. The tiny flower on the floating 'Blue Aster' also opened.

'Blue Aster'


Baby 'Blue Aster'
August 8, 2005 - The big 'Camelot' tried to open today but was distorted as are visible buds. Craig was told it did this in Texas also. Interestingly, the two little plants, floating, have normal buds and one opened today in spite or being nearly severed from the plant. It is gorgeous! Yesterday's flowers didn't reopen but a 'Senorita', hardly out of the water, DID open and is gorgeous though small! It will be a while before we see 'Regal' as several bigger buds broke off in shipping. 

The big 'Camelot'

A little 'Camelot'

August 12 - We're in wait mode here due to inevitable transplant shock. 'Blue Aster' tried to open a flower but it only made it about a third of the way there. 'Senorita' tried today but it was only partial also. Craig is seeing some first flowers of plants from tubers Roger Bagley sent.

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