2018 IWGS Symposium
San Angelo, Texas
September 13th – 16th 

***** CLICK HERE to register your attendance to the IWGS 2018 SYMPOSIUM *****

Are you ready to experience a wonderful Waterlily Extravaganza coupled with not just Southern Hospitality, but West Texan Southern Hospitality? You’re in for a treat as you join the IWGS to see the incredible collection of waterlilies Ken Landon has amassed over thirty-five years. The International Waterlily Collection (IWC) is certainly a site to behold here in San Angelo, Texas.

Click here for some great tips to make your travel planning to San Angelo easier (airport options, weather, interesting places you might want to visit, etc).


Thursday September 13, 2018
(Note:  The Symposium officially opens at the Opening Reception, if you arrive early you are welcome to participate in the earlier activities.)

6:30     Complimentary breakfast
7:45     Private transport of Board Members to San Angelo Visitors Center/Riverview Room, (418 West Ave B)
8:00     Board of Directors Meeting (open to all)
Noon    Private transport of Board Members to San Angelo Sites.  (open to all but must provide own transportation).
4:00     Registration at Staybridge Suites in the Breakfast Area  
5:30     Private transport for all attendees to San Angelo Visitor Center  (418 West Ave B)
6:00     Opening Reception at the lovely Visitor Center perched right above the Concho River.  Enjoy Tex-Mex Appetizers, Live Music, Fellowship and (optional) a stroll down to the river past cascading waterfalls.
7:30     Return to hotel, Staybridge Suites, (1355 Knickerbocker Rd)
Dinner on your own.  Note there are two excellent restaurants on either side of the hotel.  Cheddars, a regional chain, and a local restaurant called the Cork and Pig Tavern.
9:00     Hospitality Room, don’t be shy come on up.  If you don’t know anyone, we’ll be sure you will by the time you leave!

Friday September 14th
Education Day San Angelo Convention Center (500 Rio Concho Dr)
6:30        Complimentary Breakfast at Hotel
7:45        Buses leave for Convention Center (address above)
8:00        Coffee & Doughnuts Silent Auction Opens
8:30        Opening Remarks IWGS General Meeting
9:00        Keynote Speaker; Anthony Archer-Wills “Streams and Water Gardens go Hand in Hand” Anthony Archer-Wills has spoken several times at Symposia over the years and is always welcome anytime to speak with our group.  Anthony will share his techniques for blending streams and water gardens into jaw dropping landscapes.
10:30     Coffee Break Silent Auction
10:45     Kelly Billing “Planting Streams”, Always enthusiastic and a self-professed naturalist and plant geek.  Kelly will share her vast knowledge of aquatic plants and their applications particularly in streams.
Noon     Lunch and Silent Auction continues
1:30        Invasive Species Panel.  This is a subject that requires much discussion; listen and share your thoughts on this controversial subject.  Moderator: Jim Purcell, Panelists: Kelly Billing, John Sou, Rolf Nelson, Jeannie Suffern
2:30        Break and Silent Auction
3:00        Heinjo Lahring “Seed Propagation of Wetland Plants” Heinjo has been supplying large numbers of bog plants for remediation and will share his methods of seed propagation.
3:45        You Grew What, Panel Discussion.  Since Bog Filtration has been introduced, members have discovered that an amazing variety of non-aquatic plants will grow in this environment.  You are invited to share your experiments. Moderator:  Anita Nelson  Panelists: Deb Spencer, Anita Nelson, Demi Fortuna, and Danny Cox
4:45        Buses return to Staybridge Suites (1355 Knickerbocker Rd) *
*in the event of rain, we will remain at the Convention Center for Dinner
Evening Friday September 14
International Water Lily Collection, Chuck Wagon Dinner and Fireworks
5:45        Buses depart for Civic League Park (2 South Park St)
This is the first of two trips to the collection. Enjoy the water lilies, day bloomers closing and night bloomers opening at dusk, an authentic chuck wagon dinner comprised of the classic Texas dish: chicken fried steak plus the best peach cobbler ever.  We will be entertained by live music as we eat, and the evening will be topped off by fireworks created exclusively for the IWGS by the Waterlily man himself, Ken Landon.  It will be a memorable evening.
9:30        Buses depart for Staybridge Suites (1355 Knickerbocker Rd)
9:30        Hospitality Room Open, meet back up with the friends you made the previous evening!

Saturday September 15
The International Water Lily Collection, a visit to Historic Downtown San Angelo, and More Education!
7:30        Complimentary Breakfast at Hotel
8:30        Buses return to the IWC at Civic League Park (2 South Park)
Note:  Be sure to have your camera, hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen and water bottle (optional)
9:00        Lilyfest in Civic League Park
Join Ken and the City of San Angelo for their annual celebration of Nymphaea. This is your second opportunity to photograph waterlilies and join Ken as he provides commentary on the ponds. Tip:  Carry your water bottle with you!
10:45     Buses depart for Historic Downtown San Angleo
11:00     Lunch at Miss Hatties (18 East Concho Ave) Miss Hatties is located in an historic building that was a former Bordello for lonely cowboys.  Now you can enjoy a lovely luncheon before touring the town.  After lunch at Miss Hatties places of interest within walking distance are:

  • Eggemeyers General Store   
  • M.L. Ledddy’s boot factory where you can buy cowboy boots, custom order cowboy boots and watch boots being constructed.  The boot factory is worth a visit just to see the showroom. 
  • A live Longhorn Steer will be on display just for the membership at the San Angelo Stockyards.
  • Plus, more shops and places of interest.

1:00        Buses depart for Convention Center (500 Rio Concho Dr)

1:30        Eamonn Hughes, “Integrating Plants Seamlessly into the Aquatic Landscape” Eamonn is a noted landscape designer specializing in ponds and waterfalls and is well known for his naturalistic creations.  Eamonn will inspire you!
2:45        Break Silent Auction Ends time to settle and pick up your items
3:45        Ken Landon “Water Lily Q&A”, in this informal session Ken will share his techniques for growing his outstanding collection of waterlilies from potting to fertilizing to dividing to storing tubers, seeds, and rhizomes!  Be ready with your questions, Ken loves to share his passion for all things waterlily.
4:45        Buses Back to Staybridge Suites (1355 Knickerbocker Rd)
Evening Saturday September 15
Hall of Fame Banquet and Live Auction
6:00        Buses to San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, (1 Love St)
6:15        Wine and Cheese Reception, join us for a relaxed social hour during which you enjoy the artwork and go out on the terrace and observe the Riverfest festivities.
7:00        Hall of Fame Banquet & Live Auction.  Each year we end the Symposium with a Banquet.  You can dress up or dress down, your choice, cowboy boots optional.  At this Banquet we may or may not induct a worthy person into the Hall of Fame, but we will have a Live Auction.  All proceeds go towards future IWGS projects.
9:00        Buses back Staybridge Suites (1355 Knickerbocker Ave)
9:00        Hospitality Room Open, last chance for communing with like-minded waterlily enthusiasts.

Sunday September 16 (Optional)
A chance to get INTO the ponds!  But remember, no bare feet, open toed shoes or flip flops allowed.  This is non-negotiable.  Additionally, there will be a “Hold Harmless” waiver to sign before entering the ponds.
7:30        Complimentary breakfast at hotel
8:30        Private transport to IWC Collection in Civic League Park (2 South Park Ave)
Note this is the day you can get INTO the ponds, no one is allowed in ponds without shoes.  Be sure to bring a pair that can get wet as well as your camera, hat, water and sunscreen.
11:00     Return to Staybridge Suites (1355 Knickerbocker Ave)

The Staybridge Suites has graciously agreed to extend the special rate of $89.00/night for those departing San Angelo on Monday. Click on one of the links below to make a reservation - remember to use the code "WGS":

IWGS (English)

IWGS-( Spanish)


The city of San Angelo, their Lilyfest Committee, Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center are thrilled that the IWGS is visiting their city. They are fully involved in helping us plan for your visit and are currently working on adding more events to our symposium (fingers crossed for a live Longhorn).

The closest airport to arrive for the symposium is San Angelo - Mathis Field Airport (IATA airport code: SJT). Please ensure this is the airport code (SJT) that your booked flight would arrive at.

Our Speakers (in order of appearance)

Anthony Archer-Wills   Streams and Water Gardens go Hand in Hand
Anthony Archer Wills is among the world’s foremost authorities on Water Gardening, responsible for developing many of the techniques now frequently used in the construction of ponds, waterfalls and streams.  His work has been extensive in Europe, Asia, North and South America, the Caribbean Islands and the West Indies   Anthony has had the privilege of working for major corporations, the nobility, celebrities and numerous landowners in the private sector.  He wrote: ‘The Water Gardener’, ‘Water Power’ and ‘Designing ater Gardens” and numerous magazine articles.

Kelly Billing Planting Streams
Kelly Billing has had over 30 years’ experience in the water gardening industry wholesale trade.  She complied and maintains the Aquatic Plant Invasive Species List for the nursery trade in the United States.  As a Maryland Certified professional Horticulturist Kelly enthusiastically shares her knowledge and experience with International Organizations, Promotional Groups, Garden Centers and Garden Clubs. Currently, she offers design, supply and consulting services. www.waterbecomesagarden.com

Jim Purcell Moderator: Invasive Species Panel
Co-Owner and operator of Oregon Aquatics and Southwest Aquatics past President of the IWGS, Jim Purcell has been in the Water Garden Industry for over 30 years.  He brings his wealth of knowledge on plants and regulations to the Invasive Species Board.

Rolf Nelson Invasive Species Panel
Co-Owner and operator of Nelson Water Gardens & Nursery Inc., Co-Host of this year’s symposium, Rolf Nelson has over 40 years’ experience in Water Gardens and a BS in Horticulture from the University of Maryland.  Rolf is a member of the Hall of Fame, a past president and Board Member of the IWGS.  In 2010 he spear-headed the fight against The White List and continues to be active in formulating fair regulations for aquatic plants.

John Sou Invasive Species Panel
John Sou brings the Australian approach to invasive species to our debate. He is the nursery manager at Watergarden Paradise Aquatic Nursery. With 25 years’ experience he works extensively in areas of aquatic and wetland plant identification, propagation and consultancy. He is a graduate from Ryde Horticultural College in Sydney and currently serves on the Board of IWGS.

Jeannie Suffern Invasive Species Panel
Jeannie Suffern is the co-owner of Aqualine Aquatic Plants & Waterfeatures, a water garden greenhouse located near Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  Her challenge is to find aquatic plants which will survive the Alberta winters; she enjoys introducing her customers to a wide variety of tropical water lilies and other tropical aquatic plants.  Jeannie is currently a director of the Alberta Invasive Species Council, the International Waterlily and Water Garden Society (IWGS), and the Colchester Agriculture Society.

Heinjo Lahring Seed Propagation of Wetland Plants
Biologists Heinjo and Jan Lahring are now in the 36th season at their Rocky Mountain foothills nursery. They specialize in the propagation of wetland plants for ornamental ponds and native plant projects. Growing waterlilies has always been Heinjo’s dream. To do this in a short season and cool climate has been the challenge. Join Heinjo as he share’s their experiences and knowledge of growing waterlilies and wetland plants from seed at their wilderness home in the Canadian bush.

Anita Nelson  Moderator: You Grew What Panel
Co-owner of Nelson Water Gardens & Nursery, Inc., in Katy Texas and co-host of this years’ Symposium.  Anita has over 40 years’ experience in Water Gardening and has written and spoken extensively on the subject.  She was the first to pioneer Active Bog filtration and the first to use pottery as a fountain.  She has a BS in Horticulture from the University of Maryland and is a founding member of the IWGS. 

Danny Cox You Grew What Panel
Danny Cox started his career at Naples Botanical Garden as an intern and now serves as their Aquatic Areas Specialist.   Danny received his degree in Environmental Studies at Florida Gulf Coast University.  He is a former intern at Longwood Gardens studying under Tim Jennings and is currently serving as a Board Member for the IWGS.

Demi Fortuna You Grew What Panel
For most of the last 40 years in the industry, Demi has been playing in puddles one way or another.  A pond contractor since 1990, Demi has built hundreds of water features, in this country, Canada and Mexico, usually with active bog filtration. He prefers to work with his sons Edwin and Ely whenever possible, under the watchful eye of wife Susan, aka The Boss, and Megan the Wonder Dog, their latest rescue.

Deb Spencer You Grew What Panel
Deb Spencer is co-owner of Water’s Edge a retail/wholesale pond supply & aquatic nursery in Lawrence Kansas.  She has over 30 years’ experience in pond construction and water feature maintenance.  Deb currently focuses on the wholesale side of their business assisting contractors with design & product selection.  Favorite topics include pumps & plumbing.  She is also absolutely goofy about gravel bog filters and trying new plants.

Eamonn Hughes Integrating Plants Seamlessly into the Aquatic Landscape
Owner of Hughes Water Gardens in Tualatin, Oregon, and native of Ireland, Eamonn Hughes has been designing and constructing water features in Europe and the United States for over 40 years. Since moving to Oregon in 1987, he has built hundreds of water gardens in the Pacific Northwest both in the commercial and residential areas. His work has been published in many national magazines and he has written and co-authored a number of books on water gardening. He is a sought-after speaker nationally delivering keynote addresses to conferences for the water gardening industry. 

Ken Landon “Water Lily Q&A”
Ken Landon is a distinguished member of the IWGS Hall of Fame and curator of the International Water Lily Collection.  He has amassed the largest collection of waterlilies in the world which includes some of the rarest species.  In his early days he traveled all over the world collecting species lilies for the University of Texas Herbarium Collection.  Ken has also developed specialty fertilizers for waterlilies and aquatic plants and is a professional pyrotechnician.  He will be providing a firework display Friday Night exclusively for the members of the IWGS.

Safe travels home to everyone and see you next year in FRANCE!