Parade of Ponds lures gardeners

Posted 8/14/10

A few minutes devoted to web surfing brings up more information about water lilies than one can absorb in a day. But it quickly provides great photos …

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Parade of Ponds lures gardeners


A few minutes devoted to web surfing brings up more information about water lilies than one can absorb in a day. But it quickly provides great photos and a better understanding of the human species called “water gardener.”

For local members of this species, or those contemplating a garden pond, a 2010 Parade of Ponds is scheduled 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 28 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 29, including about 50 gardens throughout the metro area, with a number in our south area. The tour is also a joy for those who just want to look at beautiful spots.

Specimens of tropical water lilies are found in Ice Age excavations. They are widely illustrated in art from Egypt (see the local King Tut exhibit) and from most subsequent civilizations who created visual arts in Europe and Asia. The Roman historian Pliny the Elder wrote that they were an antidote to magic love potions and ceremonial and medicinal uses are recorded in various societies.

And gardeners have collected and enjoyed them for their beauty, especially since the mid 19th century Amazon Basin discovery of the gigantic Victoria water lilies with their seven foot leaves — which were of course transported to European botanists for propagation. This discovery generated interest in hybridizing the many species that were grown around the world.

In 1893, French painter Claude Monet had a pond dug and planted with lilies at his Giverny estate and began painting his internationally loved three-decade series of these plants and how the light looked on them. Those widely reproduced paintings are part of our cultural fabric.

The Colorado 2010 Parade of Ponds can be attended either through a self-guided tour (a map comes with a $15 ticket, free under 15) or a bus tour on Saturday, operated by True Pump and Equipment in Denver (Information and reservations ($25 includes lunch): 303-744-3505, Homes in Castle Pines are available only through the bus tour. Tickets are available at Hudson Gardens, Arapahoe Acres Garden Center, Tagawa Garden Center, Nick’s Garden Center, Enery Water Gardens, Timberline Gardens, True Pump and Equipment.

Proceeds from the tour benefit Hudson Gardens (where one can view Victoria water lilies, lotuses and a Monet Garden), Children’s Hospital, North American Water Garden Society, Praying Hands Ranch and other charities chosen by sponsors BR&D Landscape and North American Water Garden Society. Information: 303-660-5015.

Horticulturist Andrew Pierce, who created the original plantings at Hudson Gardens within Doug Rockne’s garden design, spoke of visiting Monet’s gardens at Giverny, north of Paris, which certainly inspired him to include a swath of hardy water lilies, a favorite spot for local painters and daydreamers today. Plan to arrive after the sun is shining brightly — they close up at night.

On the other hand, the amazing Victoria lilies bloom at dusk, and are admired by late July/early August concert attendees who know about their location on the west side of the large pond. The website has detailed information:

To pursue a pond project at home, one might want to join the NAWGS, which meets in Castle Rock and Colorado Springs, or the Colorado Water Garden Society, which meets in Denver, as well as hanging out at garden centers, longing to duplicate the romantic ponds they display.


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