The International Water lily and Water Gardening Society’s 2019 Symposium in France was an amazing experience. The Symposium took place in Le Temple-sur-Lot, France near Bordeaux, only a five minute walk to Latour-Marliac’s Nursery.
As I am writing this I got a Facebook post about N. Kilauea, a beautiful deep red hardy, a new water lily hybridized by Florian Henaux from France. Jan and I met him a couple days ago when he did a presentation at the symposium. Amazing timing to hear about a water lily that has the same name as the town Garden Ponds is in while we are still in France.
In 1889 at the Paris World’s Fair in a large glass conservatory a hybridizer Bory Latour-Marliac displayed his colorful water lilies to Europe that had only experienced white water lilies before this time. A young man decided to buy the house the house he was renting and to build a pond. He was Claude Money and his home would later become famous as Giverny. His later paintings of water lilies made them popular around the world.
Caroline Holmes just published her new book, “Water Lilies: and Bory Latour-Marliac, the Genius Behind Monet’s Water Lilies”. Meeting her throughout the symposium was a delight with her delightful English accent and bubbly personality. In the 1980’s Monet’s home was restored and the gardens were brought back to life, every year the tourist visits increased until today over one million visits a year. Like Kauai’s north shore, steps need to be taken to make it an enjoyable experience for all.
Thierry Huau, based in Giverny and Paris, recently purchased Latour-Marliac’s house and the symposium was the first group invited for a garden party and tour of the house. It was announced at this party that the town had agreed to donate a strip of land and accepted Thierry’s 5 million dollar development plans to connect the main street to Latour-Marliac’s home and nursery together making it a tourist destination. At this time 10,000 people visit his nursery every year and in the future they hope to shift a large portion of the tourist glut at Giverny to this developing tourist destination. Thierry is a noted French landscape architect, urban planner, curator and specialist in large-scale cultural development initiatives (an example is his Disneyland Paris’ Villages Nature).
Seeing Latour Marliac’s Nursery was the highlight of my 25 year water gardening career. Sharing it with 100 plus members of the 2019 IWGS Symposium was so stimulating. Nopchai Chansilpa of Thailand who hybridized Mangkala Ubol and Wanvisa is succeeding at cloning water lilies for the first time. I told him I had a hard time getting Wanvisa to bloom, he suggested I cut the rhizome about two inches behind the growing tip and it will bloom. This is one of many exciting tips and stories that I will be telling in the coming months in the newspaper, our website, facebook, and emails to our customers.