Featured Flowers: Water Lilies

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Water Lily

Revered for centuries as a symbol of peace and beauty, the water lily resembles a lotus in its shape and harmoniously spreading petals which seem to open like the sun.  Its name, Nymphaea, speaks to the gentle beauty of the mythological Greek nymphs their limbs delicately outstretched in the clear waters in which they play.  There are some fifty or more species of these aquatic plants (35 in our hemisphere), all of which have large flat leaves which float above the submerged plant.  (If you have ever seen an illustration of a frog in a pond, there is likely a lily pad underneath him.)

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There is no doubt that water lilies are truly lovely flowers.  Their simplicity of form makes them ideal for meditation and their blushing tones conjure Tennyson’s The Lady of Shallot.  Perhaps one of the oldest forms of flowering plants, the shape of the water lily (visually similar to the lotus) is depicted in art and design almost universally.  (The lotus is linked to Buddhist and Indian symbolism.)  Water lilies come in a wide range of colors from delicate peaches, whites, yellows, and pinks, to deep roses and hot pinks, even purple and blue (which is rare).

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Native to warm, wet climates such as Indonesia, they have been bred since the days of Victorian gardens to adapt to cooler climates and can now be found in many a backyard oasis.  Many of these images were taken in Balboa Park in San Diego, but a good selection of water-lilies can be found in Sonoma County at The Pond and Garden Nursery off Stony Point Road and Highway 116.  You and your fish, as well as visiting frogs and dragonflies, will love them!