The Charles Winch Collection
Displayed at New Orleans Botanical Garden
Introduction to the Galleries
by Charles Winch's daughters Noelene Pullen
& Margaret Edwards
We grew up in an unusual backyard surrounded
by dogs, various breeds of goldfish, watersnails, axolotyls,
koi, waterplants and chickens and, being children, we soaked
up the atmosphere including the names of many hardy and tropical
waterlilies Dad acquired.
Noelene near top yard ponds
at the first nursery, 1955
Willys with Noelene in the seat and
her friend Lorraine on the fender, 1955
Margaret feeding the hens
and chicks, 1959
His occupation was an aquatic nurseryman, and
in 1952 he purchased a Willys Overland Station Wagon to deliver
his selectively bred goldfish (that became red rather than just
gold) to pet shops in and around Sydney. There were no plastic
bags and oxygen then, so it wasn't fun for us to be splashed
with water if the car needed to stop quickly in traffic!
Hybridizing became Dad's hobby with his first
tropical hybrid being named 'Noelene' in 1953. He didn't have
much time to devote to it due to his need to earn a living, and
to move his business to a more rural environment. The early 1970s
saw the hobby develop, with 'Margaret' created in 1972.
Dad retired in 1978 and decided to concentrate
on hybridizing day flowering tropical waterlilies. His goals
were to improve the variety of colours in both flowers and pads,
and to increase the number of petals per flower. After Mum died
in 1996 we spent more time with Dad: listening to his comments
about new hybrids, assisting with their naming, and cataloguing
At different times Dad concentrated on filling
a particular area of the colour palette. He was talented in the
creation of autumns and chartreuse-purples, and became passionate
about hybridizing the deepest reds and purples. In recent years
we encouraged him to concentrate on producing whites, creams,
lemons and yellows with more petals.
The Charles Winch Collection
As a family we decided to send some of our favourites
to the US for the 2005 IWGS Competition for New Waterlilies.
Dad's Nymphaea 'Blue Aster', an example of rich flower
colour, extra petals and deeply variegated pads, won Best New
Waterlily. In 2005 he was also inducted into the IWGS Hall of
Fame, and received the Araluen Award for excellence in Australian
Margaret, Charlie and Noelene
We were thrilled when Craig Presnell wanted to
assemble a collection of Dad's waterlilies for display in the
US in 2006. We were equally delighted when Rich Sacher agreed
to exhibit the Winch Collection at New Orleans Botanical Gardens.
(See the cover story of the WGI
ONLINE Journal 1.2.), and quickly accepted
the invitation from Kit and Ben Knotts to visit them in Florida,
and travel to New Orleans to see the display.
In early August Kit, Ben, Darcy and Craig accompanied us to New
Orleans. After meeting Rich and Kevin Joyce, we all went immediately
to the Botanical Gardens to see the Winch Collection. Since it
was still daylight, none of us could wait until the next morning!
The excitement and anticipation amongst the group of enthusiastic
water gardeners was very evident.
We had dreamed of how we would feel on viewing the display, but
the resulting vision was even more fantastic than we had anticipated.
Seeing the rainbow of Dad's hybrids being grown in optimum conditions,
in one large pond at the beautifully renovated New Orleans Botanic
Gardens, was unbelievable! We felt very proud of his achievements.
Click image to enlarge
here for a complete
gallery of the visit
The following morning we returned to the Gardens
to take photos and were amazed to learn that the building behind
the pool was named "The Pavilion of the Two Sisters".
How appropriate was this location? We all oohed and ahhed again
at the magnificent vista, delighted to be a part of such a wonderful
experience and sharing it together.
The members of the group all realised that
this display would not have been possible without the work of
dedicated people: Kit and Craig had quietly assembled the plants
in Florida; then Rich took over and did an exceptional job with
their presentation at New Orleans, ably assisted behind the scenes
by Kevin Joyce and Bill Dailey.
The final result is the fulfillment of Dad's
lifetime passion. We feel very honoured to have travelled to
America from Australia, following in Dad's footsteps to the US
of 1984 and 1987, to see the Winch Collection in person. We really
value the friendships we have made with people who passionately
share the same wonderful hobby of water gardening. This is a
dream come true for us!!!
In the near future, many of the Collection
lilies, as well as some not exhibited, will be propagated in
the US and make their way to the trade. We hope you enjoy the
galleries that follow.
Gallery Main (Alphabetical)
First Gallery - N. 'Ambrosia'
Profile - Charles Winch