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International Waterlily Collection – Things to do in San Angelo, Texas

If you are passing through San Angelo, Texas, be sure and fit in a visit to the International Waterlily Collection.

You will get a chance to view the premiere collection of waterlilies found anywhere in existence.

Water lily, from the family Nymphaeaceae, comprise 58 species of freshwater flowering plants, native to the temperate and tropical regions.

San Angelo Waterlily Collection

What is the history of the International Waterlily Collection?

The collection is found in the Civic League Park in San Angelo and I always get such a calm feeling when I view the waterlilies. This collection seems oddly out of place in the dry arid land of the West Texas dessert region!

The Civic League park is also home to the Municipal Rose Garden, so you get another chance to view flowers of a different type of the same visit.

International Waterlily collection

The International Waterlily Collection is the life work of a man named Ken Landon, a life long botanist and retired engineer.

His personal collection of waterlilies is very large, so one only gets a chance to see less than 1% of his collection at the park at any one time. 

That means that each new visit to the park will give you new waterlilies to see and admire.

Ken Landon traveled the world in search of seeds and specimens for varieties of water lilies.  This exhibit gives viewers a chance to admire not only his work but get a feel for collecting these delightful plants for their own use.

UPDATE: Sadly, Ken Landon passed away in 2021. At this time it is uncertain whether the work at the International Waterlily exhibition will contain.

Since my husband and I visit Botanic Gardens each summer throughout the USA and particularly love the Southwest part of the country, this exhibit was on our must-see list.

For more Botanical Garden visits, check out these posts:

The International Waterlily Collection in San Angelo, Texas is the premiere collection of waterlilies anywhere.  Get a virtual tour with me at the Gardening Cook. 🌸🌺 Share on X

What is a waterlily?

This aquatic plant is a member of the nymphaecaceae family.

Waterlilies are ornamental plants that live in water. They consists of large floating leaves and spectacular flowers that are floating and typically cup shaped.Pink waterlily with flat leaves

The most recognized feature of a water lily is its leaves which float. The leaves can be round, heart shaped or oval and can sometimes be several feet in diameter.

Often the leaves are scalloped on the ends and the shape can be cup shaped as well as the flowers.

The leaves of a waterlily are attached at the center to its stalk and are often split, making them look like an open mouth.

The flowers open above the leaves and bloom during the summer and fall months. In regions which get no frost, the flowers can bloom all year long.

Waterlilies are often grown in tubs or small ponds.  The plants grow from tubers which send up the stems from which the leaves and flowers grow.

There are many types of waterlilies to choose from if you decide to grow them.

Viewing the International Waterlilies

This collection of waterlilies is not like a normal botanical garden.  As we approached the pools, there were plantings of flowering trees and shrubs along one side of the park.

Flowering trees and plants

And a tall cluster of palm trees let us know what the climate is like in the area.Palm trees in San Angelo

But the rest of the park was devoted to large pools of water surrounded by short metal fences which kept visitors and children safe.

The railings are fairly close to the water line, so it’s possible to get fairly close to the flowers to get great photos.Ponds with waterlilies

There are dozens of pools of waterlilies. Some of the pools have masses of waterlilies growing close together for a spectacular view.Masses of waterlilies

And other pools consist of rows and rows of waterlilies labeled by name.Labeled waterlilies

The best time to visit the International Waterlily Collection is mid morning. Fortunately, we arrived right at this time of the day!

We learned that waterlilies take a break from flowering during the hottest part of the day, so arriving mid morning or later in the afternoon gives the best display of flowers.Pink waterlilies and leaves

I took hundreds of photos and it’s hard to decide which is my favorite one.  This stunning pink and yellow specimen sitting atop of the rust and green striped leaves has to be a contender though.

Pink waterlily with striped leaves

Visiting the San Angelo International Waterlily Collection

If you are in San Angelo, Texas, be sure to take time to stop in to the International Waterlily Exhibit.  You will find the display in the Civic League Park at 2 South Park Street, San Angelo, TX 76901.

Since this is a public park, the display never closes.  The exhibit is open 7 days a week and 365 days a year and there is no admission fee. 

According to the website for the Collection, the best viewing times are 9 am until noon for the most blooms. The hardy waterlilies open between 6 and 8 am and the tropical waterlilies begin opening between 7 and 10 am.

Night blooming waterlilies in the exhibit open between 9 pm and midnight and remain open overnight.

Pin this post about the International Waterlily Collection for later

Would you like a reminder of this post for this wonderful waterlily display?  Just pin this image to one of your gardening boards on Pinterest so that you can easily find it later.International Waterlily collection in San Angelo Texas

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Wednesday 13th of April 2022

Not sure if you were aware, Ken passed away in 2021. I dont think the lilly garden will be continued, after his passing.

Carol Speake

Wednesday 13th of April 2022

Thank you for letting me know about Ken's death, Kyle. I have updated the post to let readers know.

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