Malcom Wright feeding sugar cane to hungry performers

Thailand is a country of flowers. This was evident rom the moment our flower decorated tour bus drove away from the airport. All along the highway leading into Bangkok there were masses of red and yellow Canna Lilies lining the roadway, interspersed with large stone pots filled with waterlilies. The traffic may have resembled the Long Island Expressway but the setting was definitely Thai. On side streets both in Chiang Mai and Bangkok, lotus filled every waterway. Lotus are also grown commercially for cut flowers, food (the seeds and tubers are used) and the buds are given as offering to Buddha in the temples. The lotus is considered a holy flower because it symbolizes our struggle in the world. It rises from the  mud, grows toward the light and finally opens its petals to reveal its beauty.

It had been the dream of many of us to someday travel to Thailand where so many of our  waterlilies come from. Last summer when our annual symposium was held in Florida, a  group from Thailand attended and during a visit to McKee Botanical Garden it was
decided to make Thailand the place for our annual meeting for the following year. In mid-July, 28 of us from the USA joined IWGS members from Japan, China, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, India, Mexico, England, Scotland, Ireland and South Africa for a few days of pre-symposium sightseeing in Chiang Mai which is 700 kilometers northwest of Bangkok.

Read more in the Water Garden Journal Vol 22-3.