The Lily Ponds

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Facts and Figures



The Lily Ponds

Facts and Figures

The first garden established in 1904 by William Hertrich had natural springs that emerged from rocks on the Raymond Hill Fault. The four acres were a perfect place to build 2 large and 3 small ponds. The pond water, which is circulated and recycled, is home to koi, turtles, and aquatic plants. The bronze St. Francis, patron saint of animals, was sculpted by Clara Huntington (Henry's daughter-in-law), cast in 1924-26, and bequeathed to the Huntington in 1965. The other two sculptures at the east side of the lily ponds were purchased by Mr. Huntington in 1910. One is a stone fountain ornament depicting a seahorse emerging from an acanthus leaf. The other is a gothic vasque (stone basin) on 8 columns from the 15th century.


Conifers--warm temperate & subtropical

  • Conifers (gymnosperms) differ from flowering plants (angiosperms) because they have naked seeds (no ovary). Cones house the pollen (male gamete) and the ovules (female gamete).
  • Conifers produce seeds without a flowering stage.
  • Gymnosperms are a smaller group (1000 species) than angiosperms (½ million species).
  • Examples: Sequoia sempervirens, Taxodium mucronatum.
Bamboo--tropical clumping
  • Bamboo belongs to the grass family--Poaceae.
  • After bamboo culms emerge, they expand in height, not in diameter.
  • Bamboo reaches its ultimate height in 2 to 4 months, depending upon species.
  • Bamboos rarely flower and when they do, it can be fatal to the grove.
  • The Lily Ponds’ bamboos are tropical and clumping. Some are 100 years old.
  • Examples: Bambusa tuldoides, B. beecheyana, B. oldhamii, B. glaucescens ‘Silver Stripe’. Newly planted: Thamnocalamus spathiflorus (panda bamboo), Dendrocalamus brandesii (tallest in the world), Indocalamus tesselatus (largest leaves of bamboos).

Aquatic plants

  • Shoreline plants like wet roots but can tolerate flooding and short dry spells. Examples: Juncus, Phormium, swamp iris, Miscanthus, dwarf papyrus.
  • Emergent plants grow in shallow water with roots and part of stems underwater. Leaves, stems, flowers and seeds are above water. Examples: water lilies, lotus.
  • Free floating plants are small, even tiny, and do not stay in one place. Their tiny roots do not reach the bottom of the pond. Examples: Water hyacinth, and algae.
  • Submerged plants grow entirely underwater and are rooted in the bottom mud. They can grow in shallow water if there is enough light. Example: giant green algae.
  • Bloom: Lotus--July-August, Agapanthus--July-August, Water lilies--July-September.


The planting of water lilies, iris, and other water plants (e.g., cattail); the removal of Phyllostachys flexuosa (running bamboo); the planting of 9 new species of clumping bamboos; the cleaning of all the bamboo groves; signage to discourage the feeding of koi.


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