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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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