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Wanvisa price, IWGS verge of a comeback or extinction?

UPDTE 5/16/11:

Tamara Kilbane, grower of the International Waterlily Competition plants in Raleigh, NC, has offered her observations and tips for enhanced blooming of Nymphaea ‘Wanvisa’.

       “As far as my observations of ‘Wanvisa’ – it is a very fast growing plant and a good bloomer.  We saw an average of 2-4 blooms open each day throughout the season, which was no less (and in fact more) than what we saw in many of the contest hardies.  Because it does grow so fast, it can become root-bound by the end of the season, which can in turn cause a decrease in the number of flowers while also causing the foliage to mound above the surface a bit. 

          I  really felt that this plant was a stand out in our pond in 2010.  It bloomed steadily (the blooms do open a bit later in the day than other hardies, but it is worth the extra couple of hours of waiting), and the foliage is stunning in its own right.  It is already blooming for us in our pond this year, and removing the eyes that are already forming on the rhizome seems to be helping us to keep it in check while giving us larger blooms.  Because it is a sport of ‘Joey Tomocik’, it remains to be seen how hardy it is in colder climates.  Joe is currently growing it at Denver Botanic Gardens, and many members of the Colorado Water Gardening Society will also be growing the plant this year – it will be interesting to see what their observations are.  Tim is also growing it at Longwood, and Missouri Botanic Gardens also has a plant.”

From Zac:

       There is some great news about Wanvisa, the 2010 Champion waterlily will available to many more than originally thought. The International Waterlily and Water Garden Society bought many of these amazing new waterlilies and have been selling it as a fundraiser.  Initial sales (October-February) were not what they expected and before any plants had been shipped they sold off a number of plants to wholesalers and collectors.

       Luckily for the budget wise, Wanvisa is one of the most rapid producers of new plants. One single rhizome can create 20 or more plants easily in a 5 month growing season. So with all the plants currently multiplying plus the ones the IWGS has not sold, the price  by spring of 2011 should have the prices down to about the same as almost every other hardy waterlily.  

       Funding has been a problem for the IWGS the past decade and the Certified Aquatic Plant of the Year was one idea for new revenue. The IWGS has yet to come up with a business plan that can support their efforts on a year by year basis. They have stopped charging members for annual dues but have yet to lay out a benefit to members other than a quartely Journal and Annual symposium. The speakers at the events are good and the 2010 Symposium was a hit at the International Waterlily Collection in San Angelo. The prior year in Chicago the number of waterlilies to be seen at the event was somewhat low. Once a fan of the IWGS I am hopeful for some internal changes in the organization which seems to lack an outlined focus or direction. The best sources for waterlily information currently remains Water Gardner’s International which has an extensive database however has had a recent short pause in update. The IWGS only remaining strength is in the Journal which continues to provide decent quarterly information.

       Koiphen, American Ponders, InternationalWaterlilyCollection.com , AboutTheLotus.com and Facebook are the only up to date and active goings on outside of regional pond societies. Has Facebook taken the position of the IWGS in social circles? Or has the IWGS lost all focus on its mission and plan for the future? In the coming weeks the society is going to “relaunch” or reboot its website but I have heard of no actual plan on it providing relevant material. We are sure the site navigation will be improved.

        If the 2011 Quindo symposium is a success the society will probably have turned a corner in its financial situation and if the website is improved with content and made interactive they can restore relevance to its brand. We look forward to seeing how the 2011 summer turns out.

       -Zac deGarmeaux

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