Christian Meyer
Hoppegarten, Germany

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Christian Meyer - Click images to enlarge

< Christian with N. 'Primlarp'

When I was twelve years old, my family moved from the city of Berlin to Hoppegarten in the suburbs of Berlin. I was always interested in plants and when my parents met an old friend who was growing orchids quite successfully, my interest in these plants rose. After begging for a year or so, my parents bought a small greenhouse at a garden fair that soon became the home of hundreds of orchids. I was especially interested in the genus Lycaste and started collecting them. I did well growing orchids. I joined the local club and soon became a member of the Royal Horticultural Society, UK, and the Deutsche Orchideengesellschaft.

In my free time, I worked at a local nursery, selling all kinds of plants. I specialized in roses and perennials. Soon, our garden turned into an all-kinds-of-roses-garden. Even today, I grow 150 varieties of roses. But this was not enough! When we visited a friend near Hannover, we passed a quite huge watergarden nursery, Baldur-Bahr. Looking at all these wonderful lilies growing there, my heart was inflamed for waterlilies. The one that I will always remember is 'Charlene Strawn' which was growing there in a huge pond. So I decided on growing waterlilies, too. My dad dug my very first pond in our backyard and soon the first lilies were planted.

Working in the nursery, I had access to some lilies that otherwise would not have been sold. I was able to get my 'Burgundy Princess' and a 'Gloriosa'. Unfortunately, the 'Gloriosa' did not make it but the 'Burgundy Princess' did well. I divided it several times and gave it as a present to all our neighbors, who loved that unusual dark red lily. But then the time arrived when all my neighbors were stocked with 'Burgundy Princess' and I could not find anyone to take my leftovers. What was I supposed to do? Yes! I asked my Dad to dig another hole in the backyard! Can you imagine the challenge of digging a 4 foot deep pond into clay on a hot summer day? Finally, I got my pond and planted my leftovers into it. 

When I went to study in Kingston, Pennsylvania, in 1998, I almost had to give up my hobby. My Mum knew how to grow roses by that time, but neither she nor my Dad knew how to grow the orchids. The result was devastating. When I came home for summer break, I saw a ruined collection of orchids in my greenhouse. I decided to give up on the orchids and to focus on an easier plant, my 'Burgundy Princess'!

After graduating from secondary school in 1999, I went to Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland, not knowing that a huge waterlily nursery was right around the corner! I left Goucher in 2000 for an International Management School at home in Germany without ever visiting (was it Lilypons???).

Anyway, now I had enough time for expanding on waterlilies. When there was no more room for another pond in our backyard, I decided to grow waterlilies professionally. In 2002, we built the first ponds for growing waterlilies commercially at my Grandma's. I received my first shipment from abroad from Strawn Water Gardens. By that time, I was already experimenting with breeding waterlilies. For this reason I obtained a 'Rose Arey', 'Princess Elizabeth' and 'Firecrest'. When I read an article about Dieter Bechthold and his lilies, I was even more interested. Dieter and I started German Two. Today, we work as a team, talking about breeding results, marketing new cultivars, working on the new book (available in spring 2006).

The nursery from above


The nursery in spring

As time went, more ponds were dug, more lilies found their home in my little nursery which I decided to call Seerosenfarm (Waterlily Farm). It did not take long to spread the news in my Grandma's village in the very east of Germany (only 30km from Poland) that "Mrs. Meyer's grandson is growing waterlilies in her backyard." People came to visit my nursery and my Grandma is still proud to take them on a tour of the ponds and greenhouses, where she always mentions that her favourite lilies are the American hybrids (referring to a huge clump of 'Sunny Pink' that I forgot to divide). 

Packing room

Participating in florist's educational training while studying agricultural economics at Humboldt University, Berlin, and being a certified florist gave me access to the flower wholesale markets in Berlin, where I found wholesalers that were interested in my lilies, not only as plants, but as cut flowers. Soon, I established a packing room for lily flowers at my Grandma's and the first lilies were delivered to the four flower wholesale markets in Berlin. That's why I specialized in growing and breeding big lilies. In the flowering season, my Grandma, my boyfriend Sebastian and I pick and pack up to 400 lilies, 3 days a week and deliver them to the customers. We pack 5 lilies to a bunch sorted by quality, colour and stem length.

My favourite cut flowers are 'Sunny Pink', 'Barbara Dobbins', 'Gladstoniana', 'James Brydon', 'Joey Tomocik', 'Innerlight' and capensis. In exhibitions such as IGA (International Garden Fair) and BUGA (National Garden Fair), I earned several medals for my lilies and especially the cut flower assortment.

In 2005, I was able to purchase an earth bottom pond where I already planted some lilies just for fun. I plan on setting up my motherplant stock there. I currently operate my nursery with 40 ponds, 4 greenhouses and a huge display pond. The next greenhouse is already purchased. So the story is to be continued.

Lilies packed

N. capensis for cutting in the greenhouse

Flowers for cutting in an outdoor pond

The "crew"

Christian in one of the greenhouses

The new earth bottom pond

Gallery of Meyer Waterlily Introductions
Waterlilies for Cutting
Seerosenfarm Web Site

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