This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
In the year 1842 it was my good fortune to behold this wonderful production of nature in the river Rupununi, one of the great tributaries of the Essequibo. After a toilsome struggle of six weeks in ascending the Essequibo, we passed the last cataract, and we were truly thankful to the Almighty that it had pleased Him to allow us to reach their termination without accident; and many an anxious moment we had during our ascent of this noble river which, in the number and height of its cataracts, surpasses any river in British Guiana. We entered the Rupununi, and three days after (as if we should be rewarded for our previous sufferings on the Essequibo) the Rupununi, on its right bank, expanded into an extensive bay. It was an enchanting scene. So enchanting was the view that unfolded to our eyes that we were at a loss where to commence, in order not to overlook any object in this lovely picture, the most prominent of which was the Victoria Regia, which I had longed so much to behold. The margin of this bay was bordered with this magnificent plant. The grandeur of tropical scenery was here the most striking and the most sublime I ever had as yet seen.
The numerous Palms, Uranias, with their wide-spreading leaves, gigantic trees around raised their lofty crowns to an enormous height, displaying the greatest contrast in form and appearance of their foliage. Lianas clung to their trunks, interlacing their wide-spreading branches, and having reached their summit, aerial roots descended again to the ground, and appeared like the cordage of a ship. Nature, not satisfied with the soil allotted to her, had decorated the trunks and limbs of trees, even the surface of the water, with a carpet of plants, interspersed with these magnificent flowers. Twenty-eight years have now elapsed since this lovely picture unfolded itself before my eyes, but it is still as fresh in my memory as if I had seen it but yesterday. Long before we reached the bay the Eastern breeze wafted the delightful odors towards us. The whole margin of this bay was bordered with the gigantic leaves of the Victoria, interspersed with the magnificent flowers of all shades from white to pink, scenting the air with their fragrance. On the leaves many aquatic birds were running to and fro, chasing the numerous insects which were humming around the brilliant flowers.
I may observe that we stopped many hours to enjoy this sublime picture, and that our pencils were soon engaged in transferring to paper this striking feature of this remarkable spot. We rowed from one plant to another, finding everywhere something to admire, and measuring the gigantic leaves and flowers. The largest of the former was 7½ feet; the largest of the latter 14 inches in diameter. I never was anywhere more forcibly impressed with the thought that the productive powers of nature, on receding from the pole, had collected themselves in their greatest strength near the equator, spreading their gifts with open hand and manifesting the abundant fertility of the soil. - Dr. R. Schomburgk.