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New RHS Award of Garden Merit list for waterlilies

Waterlily 'Weymouth Red'

A new RHS Award of Garden Merit (AGM) list for waterlilies was published in 2022 which added 14 new cultivars of Nymphaea to the existing 6 previously awarded back in 1993.

It was an honour for me to be invited to join the RHS Roundtable responsible for selecting not only new cultivars but also reassessing existing AGM’s within the genus. Along with other experts of waterlilies, including horticulturists from Burnby Hall Gardens, Kew Gardens, Oxford Botanic Garden and RHS Garden Wisley, the first stage was to nominate plants to be considered to generate a short list.

The criteria for these AGM recommendations was based solely that the cultivar is; excellent for ordinary use in appropriate conditions; available on the market; of good constitution; stable in form and colour; and reasonably resistant to pests and diseases.

The final stage of the selection was for the roundtable to get together, see some of the plants on the shortlist and vote for which cultivars should be awarded. I was happy to be able to host this final meeting at Bennetts Water Gardens and to show the Roundtable around the Plant Heritage National Plant Collection® of Nymphaea, a few more cultivars were added to the shortlist during the visit, and then the vote began.

I was ecstatic that Nymphaea ‘Weymouth Red’ was not only added to the shortlist but was also awarded an AGM by the Roundtable (I should be quick to point out that since this cultivar was from my own nursery back in 1991 I was barred from voting for it!). This had previously been awarded Best Small Waterlily by the International Waterlily & Water Gardening Society in 1998.

The full RHS list of top AGM pond-worthy waterlilies;

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Pre-order for 2023

Waterlily - Nymphaea 'Siam Purple 2'

As we head into spring it is a good time for planning your garden for the coming season. It’s still too early to introduce new plants to your pond as it takes the water a little longer to warm up compared to the ground around your pond. We are now accepting pre-orders on pond plants for delivery this spring.

Delivery schedule: 

We will ship your order in full as soon as all items are ready.

Lotus; these will be sent out during March into early April only.

Waterlilies and other pond plants; at the earliest these will be ready end of March, with most plants ready in April, we will let you know as soon as possible. Our plants are grown outdoors in our lily ponds, we do not “force” our plants in heated greenhouses so they are fully hardy and ready to be planted out straight away. A few plants such as miniature waterlilies and floating plants tend not to be ready until May and these are not available for pre-order.

Payment: this will be charged in full at the time of placing your order.

Feel free to contact us on the status of your order.

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2021 New Waterlily Competition

The International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society (IWGS) have revealed the winners of their 2021 New Waterlily Competition.

This year 26 hybridizers from 9 different countries entered their best new waterlilies into the competition, making it the largest IWGS competition to date.

This is the third year the competition has been held at Naples Botanical Gardens in Florida where the plants were grown by Aquatics Areas Manager, Kathy Cahill.

The competition received entries in each of the following 5 categories:

  • Hardy
  • Tropical Day-Bloomer
  • Tropical Night-Bloomer
  • Hardy Intersubgeneric
  • Tropical Intersubgeneric
Overall 2021 Winner of the IWGS New Waterlily Competiton - Nymphaea ‘Purple Zebra’

Overall Winner of the 2021 IWGS New Waterlily Competiton

Nymphaea ‘Purple Zebra’
Hybridised By Pornchai Sukkasemsamranjit of Thailand.

Photo credit: Kathy Cahill (Naples Botanical Garden)

I was pleased to once again join an international panel of judges to evaluate the entries on the quality of the flowers and foliage as well as the general impression and uniqueness of the plant. These evaluations were made based on grower Kathy Cahill’s notes and photos over the ten-week observation period at Naples Botanical Gardens. Among the judges were professional waterlily growers from botanic gardens and plant nurseries, as well as hybridizers and experienced hobbyists.

The full list of winners can be seen on the IWGS website