Water Gardening Timeline
By Kit & Ben Knotts

In trying to create a chronology of the development of ornamental water gardening, you will see that we had to explore many other topics which can't really be separated from the main one. This is described in more detail in our Short History of Water Gardening and the topics are often included in the Timeline as part of the overall frame of reference.

Many of the events listed below have links to interesting articles, most of which provide confirmation of the dates given, from sources we believe to be credible. Though some of these articles are within this website, many are not and will open in a new window. Close that window to return to this page. Links we have selected are as ad free as possible. We appreciate additions and corrections to this Timeline and to the History. We will also appreciate knowing if any of the links stop working. Write kit@victoria-adventure.org

  Earth's Geologic Timeline
 125-115 million years BCE  Fossil water lily (Nymphaeale) flower from the Early Cretaceous (Barremian or Aptian) of Portugal - Images - Article
   Fossil aquatic plant (Archaefructus sinensis, meaning "ancient fruit from China.") in China - Article
   Water lilies one of the most ancient angiosperm (flowering) plants - Article
   Nymphaeale fossil images
 66 million years BCE Water lilies and dinosaurs
 54.8-33.7 million years BCE  Fossil Nelumbo, Lower Eocene Epoch, in souteastern North America - Article
 45 million years BCE  Fossil Nymphaea is Middle Eocene - Abstract
 6000 BCE The Garden of Eden? - Article
 5000 BCE  Lotus seeds in Hemudu, Zhejing Province, China - Article
 4000 BCE  Domestication of rice in Thailand
 3100 BCE - 1400 AD  Ancient Civilizations' Timeline
   Timelines of Art History
 3000-30 BCE  Ancient Egypt's Timeline
   Nymphaea and Nelumbo evident in Egyptian art - Article
   Legends of the "Blue Lotus" (Nymphaea caerulea) in Egypt - Article
   Papyrus and "lotus" in Egypt - Article
   "Sacred White Lotus" (Nymphaea lotus) in Egypt - Article
  The Lotus and the Nile - Article 
 2950-2770 BCE  Hieroglyphics from First Dynasty of Ancient Egypt
 2800-1400BCE  Earliest planned gardens with ponds, Egypt - Article
 From 2500 BCE The lotus in Hinduism - Article
   Lotus legends - Article
 1500 BCE  First plant collecting expedition - Article
1122-256 BCE  Shijing (The Book of Songs) mentioned lotus - Poem
 600 BCE Ancient Indian University Nalanda, "giver of the lotus" - Article
 From 521 BCE Persian gardens with ponds and fountains - Article
  Paradise Gardens - Article
 From 500 BCE The lotus in Buddhism - Article
  The Silk Road - Map 
 About 450 BCE  Greek historian Herodotus wrote of Nelumbo in Egypt - Article
About 300 BCE Theophrastus wrote De historia plantarum (A History of Plants) and
De causis plantarum (About the Reasons of Vegetable Growth)
 From 206 BCE  Imperial gardens of China, from the Han Dynasty - Article
   Chinese gardens - Short history
 About 1 CE  Seeds of the "Ohga Lotus" in Japan - Article
 100 CE Gardens of the Roman Empire - Article
From 100  English gardens - Short history
 From 400  Japanese gardens - Article
 552  Introduction of Buddhism into Japan - Timeline
 600 The lotus in Japanese art - Article
   Islamic conquest of Spain
 800  Nelumbo seeds from ancient Chinese lake viable - Article
 From 1095 Crusaders brought Islamic garden style to England - Article
 1338-1390  The Alhambra built - Article
 From 1380  Renaissance gardens - Article
 From 1400  Traditional Japanese Gardens - Article
From 1493   "Modern" Taxonomic Botany and Floristics - Article
1548  William Turner (1510-1568), “Father of English Botany” recognized the English white waterlily, later named Nymphaea alba L., in his book The Names of Herbes
 1631-1648  Taj Mahal built - Article
 From 1737  The Golden Age of Botany
1753   Carl Linnaeus published Species Plantarum, in it naming Nymphaeas alba and lotus
 From 1760  Development of Kew Gardens - Article
 1786  Nymphaea odorata, an American species, was introduced in England
 1792  Francis Masson sent Nymphaea capensis, from South Africa, to Kew Gardens
From 1800  Victorian Botany
 1801 Tadeáš Haenke discovered Victoria in Bolivia
 1803  Joseph Banks introduced to England Nymphaea rubra (synonym of N. pubescens) from India
 1805  Nymphaea tetragona imported to England
 1819  Aime Bonpland and Alexander von Humboldt saw Victoria near Corrientes, Argentina
 1824  Augustin de Candolle described 26 species of Nymphaea in Prodomus Systematis Naturalis Regni-Vegetabilis, his treatise on systematic botany
 1832  Eduard Poeppig found Victoria on the Amazon
 1837  John Lindley established the genus Victoria and described the species regia from specimens and figures sent to Europe by Robert Schomburgk
 1849  The first Victoria flowered in cultivation in a specially built greenhouse at the Duke of Devonshire's estate at Chatsworth, England.
  W. Bidwell first saw Nymphaea gigantea
 1850  Botanists Jules-Emile Planchon, J.G.C. Lehmann and Robert Caspary begin research on Nymphaea
 1851  Joseph Paxton designed the Crystal Palace for the Great Industrial Exhibition of 1851 in London using the leaf of Victoria as inspiration
   The First Hybrid Waterlilies
   Joseph Paxton claimed to have produced the first hybrid waterlily ((N. rubra x N. lotus) calling it N. ‘Devoniensis’. It was generally believed to be a self-pollination of N rubra.
 1852 An unquestioned hybrid waterlily of N. ortgiesiana x N. rubra named N. ‘Ortgiesiano-rubra’ was produced by Eduard Ortgies at Van Houtte Nurseries, Belgium. Article French - English
 1852-1853  Carl David Bouché produced a hybrid waterlily, named by Planchon N. ‘Boucheana’, and numerous other hybrids. Article German - English
 1856  B.E. Kjellmark collected N. alba var. rubra, the “Swedish Red Waterlily”.
 1859 Henry Shaw opened Missouri Botanical Garden - Article
 1862   Wallace's Line
 1864  N. 'Daubenyana', the first hybrid day-blooming waterlily, published. Credited to William Baxter and named for Dr. Charles Daubeny, it may have existed as early as 1851.
 1884  E. Sturtevant, New Jersey USA, introduced his first waterlily hybrids
 1887  Joseph Bory Latour-Marliac sent his earliest hybrid Nymphaea ‘Marliacea Chromatella’ to Kew Gardens.
 1893 William Tricker introduced his first hybrid waterlilies
1894  Peter Bisset introduced Nymphaea 'Omarana'
 1899  Henry A. Dreer Nurseries introduced its first hybrid waterlilies
   Antoine Lagrange introduced Nymphaea ‘Marie Lagrange’
   Claude Monet began his series of paintings of waterlilies
 1900  James Gurney introduced Nymphaea ‘Frank Trelease’
 1902 Lily ponds added at Tower Grove Park by James Gurney
 1905  Henry S. Conard published his monograph The Waterlilies. Excerpt - Gallery of Plates
 1907  Fr. Henkel, F. Rehnelt and L. Dittman published Das Buch der Nymphaeaceen oder Seerosengewächse
 1913  George H. Pring of Missouri Botanical Garden introduced Nymphaea ‘Castaliflora’
 1931  Martin E. Randig introduced his first hybrid waterlilies
 1932  Bill Frase introduced Nymphaea ‘Electra’
 Otto Beldt introduced Nymphaea 'Mystery'
 1946  Perry D. Slocum introduced his first waterlily hybrids
1954   Charles Winch introduced Nymphaea 'Lavender'
 1957  Longwood Gardens added waterlily pools - History
 1961  Patrick Nutt of Longwood Gardens hybridized Victoria 'Longwood Hybrid'
 1964  Perry D. Slocum introduced Nelumbo ‘Mrs. Perry D. Slocum’
 1969  Kirk Strawn introduced his first waterlily hybrids
 1974 Ken Landon introduced Nymphaea ‘Pink Starlet’
1982   Dr. Slearmlarp Wasuwat published his early Nymphaea hybrids
1984 Johan Harder introduced Nymphaea 'Karleen Harder'
 1996  Perry D. Slocum and Peter Robinson published the book WATER GARDENING, Water Lilies and Lotuses
1998   Kit & Ben Knotts, Trey & Nancy Styler, Joe Summers of Missouri Botanical Garden introduced the hybrid Victoria 'Adventure'
   Kit & Ben Knotts, Joe Summers introduced Victoria 'Discovery'
   Kit & Ben Knotts introduced Victoria 'Challenger'
   Florida Aquatic Nurseries won the IWGS/RHS Banksian Medal for N. 'William McLane'
 1999  Kit & Ben Knotts introduced Victorias 'Atlantis' and 'Columbia'
 Leeann Connelly won the IWGS/RHS Banksian Medal for N. 'Helen Nash'
 2000  Rich Sacher won the IWGS/RHS Banksian Medal for N. 'Star of Zanzibar'
 2001  Craig Presnell won the IWGS/RHS Banksian Medal for N. 'Midnight Serenade'
 2002  Charleston Aquatic Nursery won the IWGS/RHS Banksian Medal for N. 'Chaz'
 2004 Craig Presnell won the IWGS Competition for New Waterlilies for N. 'Foxfire' 
 2005  Charles Winch won the IWGS Competition for New Waterlilies for N. 'Blue Aster' 

 Water Gardening's History Index

 Index to Historical Articles 

 Antique Illustrations Index

 Biographies Index

The History of Hybrid Waterlilies

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