Aquatics Water Lilies

The native Water Lilies that abound in many of our lakes, ponds, and

rivers, are more or less familiar to all. They grow up year after year

through the placid waters, unfolding their blossoms of spotless purity

to the silent stars, and after a short while, disappear, to return at

another favorable season. The American Water Lily, Nymphaea odorata,

has flowers of a yellowish-white, and an odor that is peculiar and

pleasant. The size of the flowers averages three to four inches across.

This is by no means the only aquatic lily, for we have in cultivation

quite a number of other choice and striking species quite different in

leaf and flower from N. odorata. Among the most noticeable of these

is, N. rubra, a native of India, which has flowers of a rosy-red,

measuring from eight to ten inches in diameter, with scarlet stamens;

the large leaves of this Water Lily turn to a gorgeous crimson color in

the fall. There are also N. Devonensis, bearing flowers of a brilliant

red, which often measure from twelve to fourteen inches across, are

star-shaped, and very beautiful. N. caerulea, a native of Egypt, has

light blue flowers, and light green leaves; the flowers are very

fragrant. N. flava has yellowish flowers, sometimes beautifully

variegated with brown. There is quite a number of other interesting

species, but those already mentioned are the best. The cultivation of

Water Lilies is very simple, they can be grown with success in tubs or

tanks, or in little artificial ponds, constructed to accommodate them. A

hogshead sunk in the ground in the open air, in some sunny location,

will answer to grow them in. Fill a hogshead half full of the compost

recommended for aquatics, then set the plants in the compost, press

down firmly, and fill the cask with pure water. If possible connect a

flow and waste pipe with the barrel, to keep the water fresh, as this is

highly essential in growing these plants in this manner.

A Mr. Sturtevant, we believe, now of Burlington Co., N. J., is an

enthusiast on the cultivation of Water Lilies, and no doubt an excellent

authority, He has written some valuable hints on the culture of

aquatics, from which we are tempted to quote. He says, "I will add here

a few words on the possibilities of aquatic gardening. One argument in

favor of cultivating tropical lilies in the open air is, that larger

leaves and flowers are obtained, and in case of the colored kinds,

greater depth of color than when under glass." And again, "Let us

suppose that you wish to have an aquatic garden, fifty, sixty, or a

hundred feet in diameter. We will not build it in the stiff form of a

circle or oval. There is a small bay, across which we will throw a

rustic bridge to a peninsula: somewhere on the margin we will build a

rustic summer-house."

* * * * *

"Now let us suppose that all has been planted, and come to mid-summer

perfection. Some morning, before the night-blooming lilies (there are

varieties that bloom only in the night), have taken their mid-day sleep,

let us ascend the tower, and take a view of the picture." He graphically

describes the beauty of this miniature Eden, with all its rare and

beautiful tropical plants, which certainly must be enchanting for any

who love the beautiful. It is surprising that many people of ample

means, and with good facilities for growing aquatics, and who have a

taste for flowers, do not take more interest in domesticating these

plants. Any one who keeps a gardener can have a very fine show of these

beautiful flowers, and a comparatively small outlay will bring good

results in a short time. Let those who can, try it.

Annual Flowering Plants Pansy Culture Arbors Summer-houses Pergolas And Other Garden Features facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail