September Walking Tour - Water Gardens
Tamara Kilbane, Senior Horticulturist, Aquatics
September is a great time to take a stroll around the water gardens. Tropical waterlilies, including both day and night-blooming hybrids as well as the visitor favorite water platters (Victoria cruziana and Victoria ‘Longwood Hybrid’), are in peak bloom during this month. You can find these lilies throughout our water gardens, with the water platters highlighted in the Science Pyramid and Monet pools.
Our hardy waterlilies (Nymphaea hybrids), battered by two hail storms in June, have made an incredible comeback and have plenty of blooms in a rainbow of colors to be admired. Look for the Rocky Mountain Legacy Collection waterlilies, a special collection of lily hybrids with significant ties to Denver Botanic Gardens, in the two rectangular pools on the north side of the Rose Garden. The Monet Pool is also brimming with these winter hardy lilies.
Many marginal plants including red-stemmed thalia (Thalia geniculata forma rheumoides), taro (Colocasia hybrids), Egyptian papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) and a multitude of Canna hybrids are also putting on a great show right now. Check out the Reflection Pool adjacent to the All-America Selections Garden to see the papyrus serving as a towering, finely textured accent to the bold and brightly colored foliage of Canna ‘Bengal Tiger’. The diminutive Canna ‘Chiquita Punch’ packs a wallop of orange blooms in the front of this pool.
Beside the Science Pyramid, be sure to stop to evaluate the 28 entries in this year’s IWGS New Waterlily Competition. These brand new hybrids were sent to us this spring by hybridizers from around the world and were planted outdoors in early summer. Entries came from China, France, Germany, Thailand, and the U.S. this year and are divided into the categories of hardy, tropical and intersubgeneric (crosses of more distantly related waterlilies) hybrids. You can vote for your favorite entry in each category during your visit by filling out a ballot beside the pond.
Photos by Tamara Kilbane