Preview of the 2017 International Waterlily & Water Gardening Society (IWGS) Annual Symposium

Published on April 26, 2017

Longwood Gardens.
Pierre S. du Pont’s love of water and fountains is embodied in this garden, one of many at Longwood Gardens.

In 1982, Charles Thomas planted a seed among other waterlily enthusiasts for creating a society. He fertilized it relentlessly, bringing together all facets of water gardeners. Shortly thereafter, the International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society was born.

The annual symposium has been instrumental in uniting like-minded individuals and organizations to share their knowledge and passion — a practice that is instrumental in furthering the hobby and the industry. It is with great pride that we continue uniting the water garden industry in a cooperative and collective way

 This year we are going back to the garden — Longwood Gardens, that is. It will be the third official visit in more than 30 years of IWGS symposia. One of the world’s great gardens, Longwood’s story is one of legacy, innovation and stewardship. This year’s focus will be on history, horticulture, education and a vision for the future.

Guest Speaker Lineup

• Anthony Archer-Wills is a genuine “plants” man and inspiration to so many in this industry. As he once said, “It was Patrick Nutt and Longwood Gardens that moved my love of the waterlilies forward in a quantum leap!” Archer-Wills’ water features are world-renowned. His plant knowledge, utilization of the landscape and attention to detail are second to none.

• Laura Bancroft of Ten Mile Creek Nursery is a nine-year experienced lotus-grower with more than 200 varieties. Her wealth of knowledge is an extension of her work in cooperation with The Lotus Project at Auburn University. She will share her expertise on all things lotus.

• There will be an expert panel discussion on waterlilies with Tamara Kilbane, the senior horticulturist in aquatics at Denver Botanic Gardens. The International Waterlily Registrar will serve as the moderator to cover the realm of waterlilies from basic to advanced.

• Tim Jennings, the curator of aquatic plants at Longwood, will present from the waterlily pools and treat us to an education in Victoria.

reflecting pool winterthur museum
The reflecting pool at Winterthur Museum is an excursion that shouldn’t be missed. (Courtesy of Winterthur Museum)

Other things to look forward to at this year’s show include sunrise at the waterlily pools, an informative tour of the newly renovated main fountains, the IWGS International Waterlily Competition and the fountain show.

Symposium Excursions

Terrain at Styer’s represents creativity on another level. Terrain is a wealth of design, style and innovation in outdoor living. You’ll be witness to garden-related wares, rare plants, landscape services, gifts and decor for the most discriminating taste.

Chanticleer is one of the great gardens of the region. Once the Rosengarten estate, today’s Chanticleer is a colorful, contemporary garden within an historic setting. Come discover why London’s Financial Times calls it “planted to perfection” and Garden Design magazine calls it America’s most inspiring garden.

Gardening on a higher level, the Mount Cuba Center inspires an appreciation for the beauty and value of native plants and a commitment to protect the habitats that sustain them.

International Waterlily and water gardening societyWinterthur is set amid a 1,000-acre preserve of rolling meadows and woodlands. Designed by du Pont, its 60-acre naturalistic garden is among America’s best, with magnificent specimen plantings and massed displays of color. The choicest plants were selected from around the world to enhance the natural setting, arranged in lyrical color combinations to carefully orchestrate a succession of bloom from late January to November. Du Pont translated his love of the land into a unified work of art that embodies a romantic vision of nature’s beauty.

North Creek Nurseries propagates and markets plants that develop the relationship between people and sustainable outdoor environments. North Creek promotes sustainable environments while delighting its customers with opportunities for continuous learning.

Finally, Turpin Landscaping is planning some surprise private-garden tours that are certain to be incredible.

This year’s event will be held Aug. 9-11. For more information, go to We hope to see you there!

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