Fernando Santos
Caracas, Venezuela

Text and photos by Fernando Santos

Click images to enlarge

Fernando Santos

I live in the southeast hills that surround the valley of Caracas, Venezuela. We are 4,200 feet above sea level with a nice tropical climate, within a reach of the city but at the same time far away enough to feel you are in the countryside.

As a child with one of my older brothers, we transformed our parents' house pool into a pond filled with goldfish, Water Hyacinth, Frogbit, and Water Lettuce. Then on a field trip with my father I found my first water lily. Within a few months the population of goldfish was growing fast and here a good business for a boy of just 8 years old.

My passion for plants began at an early age and continued through the years until the time came to go to the university. I decided to study Agronomy but, unable to get into the School of Agronomy at the local university, I made my way through Biology. After getting my degree I started working in tropical fruit like mangoes, bananas and papaya and here is where I got in touch with high tech irrigation systems and filtration systems … water has been always within my life.

In the early 90´s a friend from the university opened the USFilter Corporation office in Venezuela and asked me to come to work with him. From that time on I deal with water treatment technology for the oil industry for Venezuela and Latin America.

How I got back again with plants for water gardens?

A few years ago, I took an old 4 feet diameter asbestos bowl container, sealed the bottom hole, filled with water and put in a few Water Hyacinths and Water Puppies. Then I made another pond with a few water lilies found here and there with the help of the wonderful members of IWGS and Victoria lists and a lot of enthusiasm but very little free time for it. That is how all started again after many years.

Fernando's first pond (above) and the Toscana Pond (below)

And for the future?

Right now, I am a bit out of the gardening activities due to my work that takes me a lot of time traveling to different places around the world. But from time to time I stop to share with friends of this wonderful community.

2003 update - The pond at the Caracas Botanical Garden yielded not just beauty but several lovely examples of waterlilies native to Venezuela including N. pulchella. >


Fernando is also an expert orchid grower and his interest extends to many other beautiful tropical plants. See his galleries of waterlily, orchid and tropical images for a visual treat! He has also contributed a fantastic article about Venezuela's magical La Gran Sabana ("The Lost World").

Venezuela's La Gran Sabana, "The Lost World"

Fernando's Galleries

Rare Flowering of Ceylon Palm at the Caracas, Venezuela, Botanical Garden

Caracas Victoria Society - Its Inception & Progression

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