The Charles Winch Collection
Displayed at New Orleans Botanical Garden 2006

Introduction to the Galleries
by Charles Winch's daughters Noelene Pullen & Margaret Edwards

We grew up in an unusual backyard surrounded by dogs, various breeds of goldfish, watersnails, axolotyls, koi, waterplants and chickens and, being children, we soaked up the atmosphere including the names of many hardy and tropical waterlilies Dad acquired.

Noelene near top yard ponds
at the first nursery, 1955

Willys with Noelene in the seat and
her friend Lorraine on the fender, 1955

Margaret feeding the hens
and chicks, 1959
His occupation was an aquatic nurseryman, and in 1952 he purchased a Willys Overland Station Wagon to deliver his selectively bred goldfish (that became red rather than just gold) to pet shops in and around Sydney. There were no plastic bags and oxygen then, so it wasn't fun for us to be splashed with water if the car needed to stop quickly in traffic!

Winch goldfish

N. 'Noelene'
Hybridizing became Dad's hobby with his first tropical hybrid being named 'Noelene' in 1953. He didn't have much time to devote to it due to his need to earn a living, and to move his business to a more rural environment. The early 1970s saw the hobby develop, with 'Margaret' created in 1972.

N. 'Margaret'
Dad retired in 1978 and decided to concentrate on hybridizing day flowering tropical waterlilies. His goals were to improve the variety of colours in both flowers and pads, and to increase the number of petals per flower. After Mum died in 1996 we spent more time with Dad: listening to his comments about new hybrids, assisting with their naming, and cataloguing his work.

N. 'Camembert'
At different times Dad concentrated on filling a particular area of the colour palette. He was talented in the creation of autumns and chartreuse-purples, and became passionate about hybridizing the deepest reds and purples. In recent years we encouraged him to concentrate on producing whites, creams, lemons and yellows with more petals.   

As a family we decided to send some of our favourites to the US for the 2005 IWGS Competition for New Waterlilies. Dad's Nymphaea 'Blue Aster', an example of rich flower colour, extra petals and deeply variegated pads, won Best New Waterlily. In 2005 he was also inducted into the IWGS Hall of Fame, and received the Araluen Award for excellence in Australian water gardening.  

Margaret, Charlie and Noelene
We were thrilled when Craig Presnell wanted to assemble a collection of Dad's waterlilies for display in the US in 2006. We were equally delighted when Rich Sacher agreed to exhibit the Winch Collection at New Orleans Botanical Gardens. (See the cover story of the WGI ONLINE Journal 1.2.), and quickly accepted the invitation from Kit and Ben Knotts to visit them in Florida, and travel to New Orleans to see the display.

In early August Kit, Ben, Darcy and Craig accompanied us to New Orleans. After meeting Rich and Kevin Joyce, we all went immediately to the Botanical Gardens to see the Winch Collection. Since it was still daylight, none of us could wait until the next morning! The excitement and anticipation amongst the group of enthusiastic water gardeners was very evident.

We had dreamed of how we would feel on viewing the display, but the resulting vision was even more fantastic than we had anticipated. Seeing the rainbow of Dad's hybrids being grown in optimum conditions, in one large pond at the beautifully renovated New Orleans Botanic Gardens, was unbelievable! We felt very proud of his achievements.

Click image to enlarge
Click here for a complete
gallery of the visit

The following morning we returned to the Gardens to take photos and were amazed to learn that the building behind the pool was named "The Pavilion of the Two Sisters". How appropriate was this location? We all oohed and ahhed again at the magnificent vista, delighted to be a part of such a wonderful experience and sharing it together.

The members of the group all realised that this display would not have been possible without the work of dedicated people: Kit and Craig had quietly assembled the plants in Florida; then Rich took over and did an exceptional job with their presentation at New Orleans, ably assisted behind the scenes by Kevin Joyce and Bill Dailey.  

The final result is the fulfillment of Dad's lifetime passion. We feel very honoured to have travelled to America from Australia, following in Dad's footsteps to the US of 1984 and 1987, to see the Winch Collection in person. We really value the friendships we have made with people who passionately share the same wonderful hobby of water gardening. This is a dream come true for us!!!

In the near future, many of the Collection lilies, as well as some not exhibited, will be propagated in the US and make their way to the trade. We hope you enjoy the galleries that follow.

The Charles Winch Collection
Gallery Main
First Gallery - N. 'Ambrosia'
Gallery Main (Chronological)

Profile - Charles Winch

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