Dr. Robert “Kirk” Strawn of DeLand, Florida, USA, earned B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Florida and a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Texas. Forty years later, after retiring from his brilliant academic career, he attained prominence in the international waterlily community for his pioneering hybridization work.

As a Founding Member of the International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society, he served on its board and was elected as its second president in 1991. His wholesale nursery, Strawn Water Gardens, shipped tens of thousands of waterlily plants around the world. With an uncanny ability and a fascination for tackling research questions, he took on the task of hybridizing hardy waterlilies. In 1981, he produced his first unique water lily variety, Nymphaea ‘Charlene Strawn,’ named after his wife. Today, over 50 varieties of his breathtakingly vibrant waterlilies grow around the world.