The 2019 New Waterlily Competition at Naples Botanical Garden has come to a close, and a winner has been announced. Nymphaea ‘ Key West’ by Florida Aquatic Nurseries has been selected as the 2019 Best Overall New Waterlily by the International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society. With its pastel purple petals and blazing yellow center, it’s a fitting example of the potential of tropical waterlilies.
The Garden hosted its own iteration of the competition, with its “People’s Choice” online gallery and voting portal. Nearly 900 people voted to support their favorite waterlily. The victor: Nymphaea‘ A. Tongkam,’ by Pattanan Ganjanapas of Thailand, complete with gold petals and wide, saucer-like blooms.
For more than 20 years, horticultural experts have worked on reimagining aquatic gardens. The ultimate goal of the New Waterlily Competition is to spark an interest in aquatic gardening by introducing new waterlily species with noticeably new and unique traits. It’s an important job, considering how the effects of climate change will impact the future of life on land and in water. It’s one way to advocate for environmental consciousness.
This was the Garden’s first year hosting the competition. Waterlily hybridizers from around the globe submitted a total of 21 competing specimens vying for 10 different awards. The judging panel was made up of 12 experienced aquatic gardeners and experts from around the world. The competition will continue in the Garden through 2022, and guests can enjoy the hybrids again starting Summer 2020.
For those who want to see more of these floating plants all year round, the Garden curates a growing collection of 85 varieties with 250 individual waterlilies throughout our many cultivated aquatic display gardens, which are most impressive during the summer months.
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