Water garden curator Joe Tomocik plants waterlilies with the interns

July 1, 2010 Horticulture Department

It is no secret in horticulture and gardening that plants need water and who knows this better than  Joe Tomocik, curator of water gardens, whose waterlilies hardly spend a day out of it.

Once the threat of frost subsided, the empty water beds throughout the garden beg for some flair, and Joe knows just the trick. Calling upon the intern staff to help him out early one morning, he layed in front of us a large bag of waterlilies, some containers of varying sizes (from which we must choose wisely), a pile of clay soil, and told us to have at it.

The interns, ready to go. 


In intimate detail, we learned the proper way to pot these plants: newspaper in the bottom to prevent soil leakage, slow-release fertilizer for an added kick, and just the right amount of compaction to keep the plant from floating away but not so much as to inhibit root growth. A carefully placed brick on top sealed the deal.

Potting them was half the battle; the rest was sinking the plants into the displays. A certain level of care was needed as to not knock loose any of the work we just did. Joe once again taught us the best way to do it:

 "Tilt it but don't tilt it"

Many of the species we planted were of tropical origin, so they should love the warm climate that we introduced them to for the summer. And just like these plants will enjoy their watery bed, so too did we have fun in the process:

Waders never looked so good

Check back soon for updates on the beautiful blooms we hope (expect!) to get!


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