At their summer Symposium, The International Water Garden and Water Lily Society (IWGS) inducted two new entrants into the prestigious IWGS Hall of Fame. At the Friday evening Banquet, they presented the award to a stunned Mr. Pairat Songpanich, of Nonthaburi Province, Thailand. Mr. Songpanich and his wife were in attendance and clearly were taken by complete surprise by this award.
The next Hall of Fame Award was awarded to Sir Ghillean Prance, United Kingdom. Sir Prance was presented his award at the grounds of Bennett’s Water Gardens in Weymouth, UK, with Norman Bennett making the presentation on behalf of the IWGS. This award is not given every year, so to have two in one year is quite special.
The awards presentation at the banquet was a very emotional experience for all in attendance as Larry Nau began by recounting Mr. Songpanich’s many achievements including developing last year’s top new Water Lily Variety the renowned N. “Siam Blue Hardy,” the first ever blue hardy water lily.
Mr. Pairat Songpanich was born in Thailand in 1957. He received his Bachelor of Agricultural Science from Kasetsart University located in Bangkok, Thailand in 1983. Currently he is researching the production of para rubber at the Rubber Institute of Thailand.
Mr. Pairat Songpanich’s hybrids have received numerous awards in recent years. Not only does Pairat excel in the art of growing and propagating water lilies but he is also an award winning amateur photographer!
The IWGS presented world-renowned botanist Sir Ghillean Prance with an award in recognition of his groundbreaking research on the Giant Amazon Waterlily the next day.
Sir Ghillean Tolmie Prance FRS (born 13 July 1937) is a prominent British botanist and ecologist. He was the Director of Kew Gardens for the eleven years leading up to his retirement in 1999, and still keeps an active interest in conservation issues through work as a scientific adviser to the Eden Project in Cornwall.