The Aquatic Garden replaced an earlier, more primitive tank built in 1873. It comprises a large elongated pool, some 19 by 9 metres, along with four corner and two side tanks. The central pool was originally heated to give waterlilies a head start, but today plants grow at the ambient outside water temperature. In 1935, the central tank was repaired, re-faced and raised to provide greater depth for the waterlilies.
Aquatic Garden plants
The main pool houses 40 varieties of hardy waterlily, including Nymphaea ‘Masaniello’, which has pink flowers, N. odorata, which has apple-scented flowers and N. ‘Colonel A. J. Welch’, which forms new plants from its spent flowers.
The corner tanks display marginal aquatics such as sedges and rushes including the flowering rush (Butomus umbellatus) and bog bean (Menyanthes trifoliata). The narrow side tanks exhibit floating aquatics.
You can see tropical waterlilies growing in the Waterlily House and Princess of Wales Conservatory.
Things to look out for
Several eucalyptus trees grow around the Aquatic Garden. These include a particularly impressive mountain gum (Eucalyptus dalrympleana), which has a distinctive white trunk and branches. Newts, waterboatmen and dragonflies live in and around the Aquatic Garden too.