Requiem for a water lily

william-mclaneTuesday was to be a wonderful day. Weather was great. The beloved husband was coming home.

It didn’t live up to its expectations. Not by a long shot.

I woke up to an almost empty pond. A leak had siphoned most of the water out and I had to leap into action at 6 a.m. to save my fish. That time is not my best leaping time.

In fact I don’t have a good leaping time but mid-afternoon would have suited me better.

Catastrophe was averted. The hole was in the hose and not the liner (which would have been a lot worse). It took over an hour to refill the pond. All fish were saved.

With adrenalin pumping out of control, I proceeded to the gym and Starbucks (for medicinal purposes of course). I decided to get a two large mochas (to soothe my nerves).

Truth be told all that caffeine did not soothe my nerves but frazzled them more.

With this as the backdrop, the water lily tale will begin.

The water lily as it looks in my pond now surrounded by loving fish.

The water lily as it looks in my pond now surrounded by loving fish.

I have hardy water lilies but every year I treat myself to a tropical one. They don’t survive the winter here so they are treated as an annual plant.

The tropicals are bigger and in more unusual colors. There is a blue one that I love. I bought it locally but it’s been unavailable so I ordered on-line from a wonderful pond flower store.

They send the lily ready to plant at the appropriate time which in our area isn’t until the very end of May. Water temperature should not fall below 70 degrees.

My pond will go to 78 degrees during the day but cool off into the 60s overnight. That doesn’t make these tropical babies happy. They don’t have fur or feathers to keep them warm.

I have lost a tropical by putting it in too early so I am cautious. I ordered and requested that they send at the end of May. That’s a full week later than they usually do for my area. As I said, I’m cautious.

Tuesday, May 12 it arrived, more than two weeks early. It was a very warm day. I quickly potted it up and sunk it into my pond. There were several beautiful leaves and three buds. My only worry was that the flower color looked more purple than blue. Not the end of the world.

Then I heard the weather forecast. Now it’s the end of the world.

After several days of high 80 degree weather, the temperature was dropping to the high 60s for Wednesday. That meant my water temperature would drop too.

What to do?

I called the flower place. Since it was already in the pond, they said to leave it there and hope for the best. Water temp dropped into the low 60s.

My curious fish were huddled all around the plant. It must have had some good smells and other things that fish like because it was the hit of the party. I was hoping those little guys could keep it warm. Maybe fish pee is warm.

After a beautiful but cool day, last night dropped even more. Water temp was in the 50s. Oh oh. Not good.

I’ve been to this rodeo before. In the fall when they are healthy sturdy plants, they can sustain cooler days but in the spring, immediately after transplant (and still in shock) they don’t do so good.

We are now providing hospice service for my poor tropical who is wondering where the beach boy is with a round of umbrella drinks.

The owner of the tropical is wondering the same thing.

The first picture is how the lily looks in the heat of the summer. 


37 thoughts on “Requiem for a water lily

    • It’s still doing well. There is another bud on it but these are all buds that were already on the plant when it came. It hasn’t developed any new ones. Our weather has been up and down so the water temp still dips below 70. I should know soon if it won’t send anything new up but so far it’s looking good. My hardy water lilies have sent up leaves but no buds yet.

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  1. I really like that you treat yourself to a tropical lily every year! What a great tradition. I never thought about how difficult the weather fluctuations might be and the havoc they’d play on your lilies. I hope your new one survives! It would be a shame if it didn’t! 😦

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  2. Pingback: Random 5 for May 17 | Views and Mews by Coffee Kat

  3. Whew! So glad it wasn’t the liner. But that poor lilly – she looks like such a diva (what a beauty, adn she knows it.) – the fish were trying to assist and whisper encouragement. Hope she believes the show must always go on and stages a comeback for her devoted fans. Those drama queens can be delicate – you are so brave to invite one over. SIgh
    Most enjoyable post – You write with such humor. Applause!


    • Thanks. I’m encouraging the fish to cuddle up with it. One leaf has turned yellow but you usually lose the leaves when it goes through a shock. We are still hoping but the nights are still cool.


  4. You had me on the edge of my seat reading about your fish and water lily. I’ll be waiting to hear if the lily survives. I’m a big fan of water lilies and lotuses, especially when they’re in a pond with fish. The lotus is a favorite subject for Chinese brush painters. For some reason, I never got around to painting them.The blue bloom at the top of the page is stunning.


    • It’s a stunning lily but most tropical water lilies are. I love lotus plants but you need a lot of room for them and they would take over my pond. Every so often I play with the idea of trying one though.


  5. Glad the fish survived, here’s hoping your water lily does too. Hate to admit this but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in bloom. Beautiful! Your morning definitely called for a double dose of Starbuck’s. I would have done the same! Good luck!!


  6. Kate, you should have called the Paramedics, especially at that hour, but it sounds like you did all you could do for the pond under the circumstances. Thank god you went into the Starbucks for that transfusion, but hospital help theses days. It was probably an overdose.


  7. Our temps have been in the mid-80s one day and mid-50s the next. I’m having a difficult time adjusting to the changes– and I’m not a special flower! I hope that things work out for the best both for your fish and for your beautiful flower. Be a shame to lose either to the fickle nature of spring weather.


    • The fish will be fine unless we spring another leak but the lily….not so sure. Time will tell. We have had similar fluctuations. Never know what to wear and whatever I chose is the wrong thing.


    • The lily is amazing. It’s an old hybrid and I don’t know why it fell out of favor. There are some other blues but they are much more pastel. Technically the store send it too early (as per my requested date) so I’m hoping that if I lose it, they will send another. Once the water is consistently warm, they grow fast.

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  8. Are you at all tempted to pour heated water around the tropical water lily? Maybe you could break out the extension cord and the hair dryer tonight! I wouldn’t blame you. That’s a gorgeous picture.


    • Yes, I thought of that but I’d have to do it periodically all night. I checked on-line for a pond heater but only found a de-icer that activates when it drops under 35. I considered pulling it out, putting in a large bucket of warm water and bringing it in. I thought about throwing plastic over to keep the heat in. I’m a great thinker but in the end I didn’t do anything.

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