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… because water lilies were there

July 31, 2010

It’s been about ten years since I read Astrid Lindgren’s ‘Ronia the Robber’s Daughter’ in English, but one sentence has stuck in my mind all that time: ‘and she laughed because water lilies were there.’

I don’t know why I still remember that sentence, but I inevitably think of it whenever I see water lilies, and it makes me love them even more – ‘Ronia’ is still among my favourite books.

And it’s not just Hibiscus time now, it’s water lily time too. So a large part of the pictures I took at the botanical garden on Monday (what better way to start my holiday? If you’re not working with plants, you have to go look at other plants, right?) are of water lilies.

In the outdoor ponds:

Nuphar lutea, the Yellow Pond Lily:

Please excuse the not-very-good picture - they're growing in a rather dark forest pond.

Nymphaea, what I think of when I think ‘water lily’:


I know Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) isn’t actually a water lily, it’s not even in the family Nymphaeaceae any more – according to Wikipedia, it used to be, but it’s now got its own family, the Nelumbonaceae. But since it looks enough like a water lily to confuse even botanists – enough, even, to have been called Nymphaea nelumbo – I’ll include it here. Also because it’s growing in the water lily pond, and even poking a leaf into the picture above.

The way the water beads on the leaves reminds me of my wonderful Biology teacher, because it was on an excursion with her that I first saw this:

The water lily pond in the sunken garden:

There are more Nymphaeas in the large pond:

'Sunrise' - I nearly fell into the pond trying to see the name tag - what use is a tag if you can only see it while swimming across the pond? (I only managed to find out the name by taking a picture of the tag, zooming in as close as I could)

And even more inside the greenhouses, where the pond în the entrance house has been filled again, with pillows scattered along the knee-high wall that forms the edge… I wonder how many of them end up in the water?

Nymphaea gigantea

'St. Louis Gold'

Nymphaea rubra

Nymphaea gigantea

Nymphaea lotus

The Santa Cruz Water Lily,  Victoria cruziana, in the tropical greenhouse wasn’t blooming when I was there (apparently, they’re night-blooming, so that’s no surprise, then), but the leaves are quite impressive, too:

And that’s it with the pictures, at last. Except… a bonus picture of sorts – hand-coloured illustration from my copy of ‘Ronia the Robber’s Daughter’. That’s how you can tell I really loved a book, when I sat down to colour the illustrations – and I think this is the only one of this size that got all the way done!

And guess what the first sentence on the page is? ‘[she looked] at them for a long time and laughed silently because water lilies were there.’

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