After setting out the Water Lilies (which should be in early March) and as soon as the roots are planted, turn in the water and fill the pond until the water covers the boxes three inches, keeping the water at that level until the plants begin to throw up their young leaves when the pond may be filled to the surface or the level designed.
The planting of the margin should now also be attended to, the semi-aquatics such as the Japanese Iris, the Papyrus anti-quorum and the Calla being set out nearest the water or where the water is not more than a few inches deep. On the promontories may be planted Bamboos, Arundos, Birches, Willows, Pampas grass, Eulalias, and, where the grounds are very large, the Swamp Cypress of Louisiana (Taxodium distichum).
In planting out the Water Lilies, place the Nelumbiums in the largest basins and the smaller-growing Nymphaeas in the basins nearer the edges.
The Nymphaea odorata, a native of the Eastern States, will be found one of the best for general planting, having beautiful pure-white flowers of delicious fragrance. There are several varieties of this lovely species, including Nymphaea Carolinensis with petals of delicate pink, a good grower with large flowers. Another charming variety is Nymphaea exquisita, a moderate grower with rose-colored flowers, while Nymphaea sulphurea, with yellow flowers, is one of the very best for cultivation in our ponds, its flowers being large and standing up clear of the water from six to eight inches and its leaves being beautifully mottled with chestnut-colored spots.
Nymphasa tuberosa, a native of the Western States, has a beautiful flower pure-white and sometimes as large as nine inches across. This species should be planted where the water is from four to five feet deep, and its roots should be kept from mixing Small Lake Bordered with Willow and Pine with the smaller growers, otherwise it will starve them out and choke them. There is a rose-colored variety of this species which is identical with the original excepting in the color of the flowers.
Nymphaea alba and its varieties are also very desirable, all having beautiful flowers and handsome leaves, among the best being Nymphaea candidissima with pure-white flowers of large size standing clear of the water. Nymphaea fulgens, as its name implies, is a brilliant crimson with flowers beautifully cupped; this variety should be in every collection. Nymphaea rosea is another charming variety with flowers varying in color from pink to purple.
Then there are the Marliacea Hybrids most of them bearing large flowers in many shades of color, some pink, some red and some yellow, while others have stamens of a different color from the petals making effective combinations.
Nymphaea caerulea, a distinct species with blue flowers and yellow stamens, ought to be in every collection.
Nymphaea Zanzibarensis (the Royal Purple Lily) is without doubt one of the finest of the Water Lily family, being a strong grower and a free bloomer with rich purple stamens and petals of intense blue, and having a very sweet odor. The foliage is a rich green, the under-side being purple. This species has a rose-colored variety, which, on account of its color, is also very desirable.
Nymphaea Devoniensis and its varieties are another class which add much to the attractiveness of the water-garden as they are night-flowering. They are very vigorous growers and free-bloomers, the flowers, under good cultivation, growing sometimes to a size of twelve inches across; they are of a bright rosy red and are borne on stems well above the water.
Nymphaea lotus, from Egypt, is a beautiful white-flowering species also blooming in the night.
Nymphaea dentata, another white-flowered species, is one of the best and largest of the night-flowering varieties; it has serrated leaves of deep green.
Victoria Regia, one of the most remarkable productions of the vegetable kingdom, is a native of tropical South America. It bears leaves from five to seven feet in diameter with a vertical rim from three to six inches high. Its deliriously fragrant flowers measure from twelve to fifteen inches in diameter and open about five o'clock in the evening, closing the following morning about nine o'clock, reopening about five or six o'clock the same afternoon and closing, for good, the morning of the second day. The first time the flowers open they are white slightly tinted with pink, the second time they open they are of a rosy pink. To grow well, this species or any of its varieties must have a sunny, sheltered situation, and the water must be kept at a temperature of about eighty degrees Fahrenheit, which of course necessitates artificial heat, this being produced by hot water pipes running through the tank or pond in which the Victoria is to be grown.
Nelumbium speciosum (Egyptian Lotus) is one of the best of the species, being a vigorous grower and a free bloomer with flowers of rosy pink.
Nelumbium luteum (the American lotus) is not quite so strong-growing as the Egyptian species, but, on account of its color, should be in every collection; its flowers are pale yellow. There is also a white-flowered, strong-growing species named Nelumbium album grandiflorum, whose white flowers make it very desirable, as they contrast well with the pink flowers of the Egyptian.
The Nelumbiums all like a well-sheltered situation and plenty of space to show to advantage.
Propagate by seeds sown, in February, in pots filled with light sandy soil, the seeds being covered about one-quarter of an inch deep; submerge the pots, covering them to the depth of about three inches and keeping the water at a temperature of about seventy-five degrees Fahrenheit. When the seedlings have made two or three leaves, pot them singly in three-inch pots, using a slightly richer soil than was recommended for the seed pots; as soon as they have filled the pots with roots, give them larger pots; plant out the hardier species, such as Nymphaea alba or Nymphsa odorata in April, and the Nelumbiums a month later.
Propagation may also be effected by division of the roots or rhizomes, in early Spring before growth commences; plant at once where they are to bloom.