The Story of
Blooming Friendships
(or how the Clyde Ikins Slide Collection
came to Victoria-Adventure)

by Duane Eaton
Click images to enlarge
(Images unless otherwise specified from the slide collection of and ©
Dr. Clyde Ikins)

In the world of water gardening, the name N. 'Clyde Ikins' means a beautiful and frequently blooming hardy water lily. Hybridized by Dr. Kirk Strawn, it was named after his good friend and fellow water lily grower, Dr. W. Clyde Ikins. In south Texas, we are fortunate to have the real man behind the name of the plant. Dr. Ikins lived in Bandera, which is about 40 miles out of San Antonio. His place included his home and business, and was called Lakeside Gardens.

Dr. Jerry Parsons, the horticulture specialist with the Texas Cooperative Extension and immensely popular radio garden show co-host, was a speaker at a meeting of the Water Garden Club of South Texas. Jerry started talking about Dr. Clyde Ikins and the enormous influence he had in the world of water gardening. Jerry said that Clyde was inducted into the Texas Agriculture Hall of Fame. To emphasize Clyde's impact, Jerry said that while everybody else had been inducted after their death, Clyde was inducted while he was still alive. As Jerry likes to point out, "Clyde is so big that he didn't even have to die to get the top recognition in Texas agriculture!" Jerry mentioned about the extensive slide collection that Clyde had. During other talks with Jerry, he would many times mention Clyde and his slides.

Through his employment in the Texas Cooperative Extension and his work with all forms of mass media, Jerry became friends with Clyde when doing television programs and newspaper articles about water lilies. Two of the watergarden features that appeared on television can be seen at Waterlily Gardening in Containers and Waterlily Varieties. A news-article about waterlilies written by Dr. Parsons can be seen here. Over the years, Dr. Ikins became the water lily expert for local media information and events. He was already a world-renowned water lily expert to everyone else.

I saw the impact of these slides at an educational forum at the San Antonio Botanical Garden. Co-sponsored by the Water Garden Club of South Texas, Clyde was one of the main speakers at Water Gardening Day. The local newspaper had given the event an incredible amount of publicity the Saturday prior. The article mentioned how Clyde would be giving a presentation from his slide collection.

Water Gardening Day was held in a second story meeting room at the Botanical Garden that held 65 people in a seating arrangement. Thanks to all of the publicity, over 130 people were crammed in that room to watch and hear Clyde's presentation. (To this day, I'm amazed and VERY thankful that the floor didn't collapse!) Needless to say, he did not disappointment a single person. The "oohs" and "awws" made me think that I was at a fireworks show.

N. 'Clyde Ikins'

N. 'Bernice Ikins'

 ^ The Ikins Waterlilies
Hybridized and named by Kirk Strawn

I. 'Clyde Ikins'

I. 'Bernice Ikins'

 ^ The Ikins Irises
Hybridized and named by Kirk Strawn
Images provided by and ©
Bob Strawn

In the years that followed, I always heard people talk about that presentation and the incredibly beautiful pictures of the water lilies. My personal friendship with Dr. Jerry Parsons continued to grow due to my involvement in the local water garden community. Jerry continually expressed to me his concern about what would happen to those slides after Clyde's death. This was too much of a wealth of information to lose.

Jerry decided that he would personally take a step to insure that people would always be able to enjoy Clyde's slide collection. He received permission from Clyde to have each and every slide scanned and digitized. Jerry would then place the images on his web site, which is a major source of information on various types of plants. (Promo for Jerry: His site,, was discovered by the nice folks at Microsoft. They contacted him in 2004 to have his site as a component of the gardening section of their Microsoft Network.)

Bernise & Clyde Ikins

Jerry and a helper traveled to Bandera to borrow Clyde's slides. They returned to San Antonio with boxes upon boxes upon boxes of slides. The slides were taken to the San Antonio Botanical Garden, where the massive project began to digitize them for the enjoyment of future water garden fans. Being the good scientist he is, Clyde had long since labeled each and every slide. Thanks to his careful record keeping, each digitized image could be quickly labeled.

As one might expect, after spending countless hours on this project, the flowers all started to blur together. Jerry likes to tell people about the time that the person who was working with the project said to him, "Dr. Parsons, these pictures are all starting to look alike."

I was very honored when upon the completion of the digitization project; Jerry gave me a CD of the entire collection. Being one of the "charter contributors" of Victoria-Adventure, I strongly felt that if these pictures belonged anywhere on the Internet, it was on the Victoria-Adventure web site. I called Kit and talked to her about the collection and asked if she would be interested in adding it to Victoria-Adventure. She was most certainly agreeable to the task.

Jerry was already aware of Victoria-Adventure from my constant talking about it. (He had long ago added a link on his site over to Victoria-Adventure.) When I asked him if it would be possible to put Clyde's collection on the site, he said that there would be no problem and emailed me with his written permission.

After all of this approval process, Mother Nature visited Florida time and time again, leaving Kit and Ben with other issues to contend with. At this very challenging time, I didn't think that a web site was a very high item on their priority list. In early January 2005, I went ahead and sent the CD to Kit. If nothing else, it would give her a break from constantly rebuilding from all of the hurricanes.

To say that Kit was excited to see the actual collection is, shall we say, an understatement. She was VERY excited, as it was larger than she had ever thought. I think that I had only referenced it as a "large number" of images. The CD that she received had a total of 34 directories with 1,667 files totaling 324 MB of space. WOW!

On a personal note, my trips to Lakeside Gardens are some of my fondest memories of my water gardening "career". I have many pictures from those trips, and one day will have a feature on Lakeside Gardens on my personal web site. I think that I went there something like six times, which simply was not enough. As one friend said as we walked up some steps to one of the major formal display areas, "My God, it's like we've died and gone to heaven." It was truly an amazing place.

Bernise Ikins

Victoria Pond

Bernise Ikins

More images from
Lakeside Gardens

The saddest trip was my last, which was literally the day before the movers showed up to move Clyde away from his beloved property. I am honored to have been able to make those trips, and am just as honored to be able to contribute Clyde's pictures to Victoria-Adventure. Many thanks to my good friend, Dr. Jerry Parsons, for his infinite vision, and special thanks to Clyde for giving his permission to Jerry to digitize his slides. What a living donation to his passion!

For additional information on the individuals involved, click here for Dr. Clyde Ikins, click here for Dr. Jerry Parsons, and click here for Duane Eaton.

The Clyde Ikins Collection Main
Profile - Dr. Clyde Ikins
Dr. Ikins passed away in July of 2005
Our World Loses A Legend (PDF - Get Abobe Acrobat Reader)
by Duane Eaton

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