I am often asked what the horticulture staff of Powell Gardens does in the winter. The process we follow to grow the magnificent Victoria waterlilies shown above (photo taken last summer by Mark Gawron, Senior Gardener for the Island Garden) starts now, in midwinter. The Victoria waterlilies have arrived!
Mark Gawron says Victoria waterlilies are the prize jewel for avid water gardeners. I like to start the Victorias in mid-January. We receive the seeds from Florida and I credit the process of cultivating the Victorias from Water Gardens International's website http://www.watergardensinternational.org/."
We received five varieties of Victorias this year. The seeds arrive from Florida in labeled plastic baggies filled with water. Victoria amazonica depicted here.
Mark Gawron nicks (scarifies) the seed as soon as possible, keeping the seed out of water for the smallest amount of time possible. This is a slow process; each seed must be scarified individually by hand.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Nicking involves using a scalpel to pop the operculum off without touching the embryo underneath. After nicking, Mark immediately returns the seed to the plastic baggie filled with water and floats the baggies in an aquarium maintaining a temperature of at least 85F. This is the Victoria's seeds stratification proces. Germination should take place in 3 to 12 days.
Stay tuned for the continued process... and watch our Victorias grow. In July, Mark will play pollinator of the Victorias in the Island Garden pools by the moonlight!
All photos taken by Alan Branhagen on January 11, 2008.