1997 Waterlily Competition Winners


The IWLS Trials Committee chairperson, Michael Duff, Honours and awards committee chairperson, Barbara Davies, and Denver Botanic Garden’s aquatic horticul­ turist, Joe Tomocik, mounted a cooperative project to launch a competition for living Nymphaea hybridisers and introducers (i.e., people who find interesting new cultivars in the wild or in their pond and introduce them to more general cultivation).

Up to five plant varieties were solicited from each known hybridizer or introducer and were grown on by the aquatics team at Denver Botanic Gardens. The same growing conditions and treatment were given to each Nymphaea plant. “Judgement  Day” was set for 12 August 1997 during the official Denver Botanic Garden visit by attendees of the 13th annual IWLS Symposium. The IWLS attendees, all 188 of them, were to be the judges using a points system and form devised by Michael, Barbara and Joe. The morning before judging, the sun was shining, and the 33 Nymphaea were looking good and blooming their hearts out. By the afternoon a Rocky Mountain storm had blown in and the heavens opened, drenching cen­tral Denver and the Botanic Garden in several feet of hailstones. Carports were collapsed, electrical systems knocked out, streets closed and the Nymphaea display was shredded into the saddest salad anyone could imagine.

Standing around the Denver Botanic Garden display pools during the IWLS symposium visit, the entire group was doing their best to be philosophical about the situation. But a mixture of commiseration and cre­ative eavesdropping produced a brilliant salvage effort. Len Freestone volunteered the help of the Colorado Water Garden Society to judge the competition a few weeks later, after the Nymphaea recovered from their thrashing. Joe Tomocik and Denver Botanic Garden Director of Horticulture, Jim Henrich, approved the plan, and a failed noble effort was transformed into a successful collaboration.

The judging took place on two separate days, 31 August and 4 September due to the number of people available to judge on each day, totalling seventy judging forms fully completed. Results were posted to the U.K. where Sarah Davies tallied and double checked results.

Since 1824, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), based in London, England, has awarded their Banksian Medal in connection with affiliated society’s shows. The International Water Lily Society, who serves as the International Registration Authority (IRA) for the genera Nymphaea and Nelumbo under the International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS), are an RHS affiliated society.

Originally the Banksian Medal was cast in pure gold, but is now cast in bronze, in Birmingham, England, site of Britain’s most prestigious, historic, medal-casting foundries.

1997 is the first year that the Banksian Medal has been approved by the RHS for award by the IWLS, a truly momentous occasion for all concerned. The RHS Banksian Medal is “awarded to the competitor who obtains the highest total amount of points in the whole of the horticultural competition”. The competition for the medal was open and not confined to members of the IWLS.

The 1997 IWLS/RHS Banksian Medal is awarded to the competition winner for overall best Nymphaea (tropical or hardy) by a living hybridiser/ introducer:

‘FTL 397′: The prize is $40.00, the bronze RHS Banksian Medal, a printed certificate and a great deal of pleasure for Brad and Bruce Mclane of Florida Aquatic Nurseries, Inc. in Ft Lauderdale, Florida. Since the award was made, Brad and Bruce have renamed ‘FTL 397’ as ‘William Mclane’ in honour of their father.

The 1997 IWLS first Annual Nymphaea Trial Competition was made possible due to the coopera­ tion of the Denver Botanic Garden, the Colorado Water Garden Society, the International Water Lily Society and the Royal Hortiultural Society, to all of whom our greatest thanks are extended. Thanks also go to IWLS committee members Michael Duff, Joe Tomocik and Barbara Davies. Hearty congratulations to winners Brad and Bruce Mclane, Don and Shirley Bryne and Michael Duff.

Best in Show – Banksian Award Waterlily

Nymphaea ‘William McLane’
by Florida Aquatic Nurseries

Best Small Waterlily

Nymphaea ‘Albina’
by Michael Duff

Best Dwarf Waterlily

Nymphaea ‘Deva’
by Michael Duff

Best Medium Waterlily

Nymphaea ‘William McLane’
by Florida Aquatic Nurseries

Best Large Waterlily

Nymphaea ‘Angela’
by Don and Shirley Byrne