Garden Photo of the Day

Bringing a Taste of Tropical Asia to a Cold-Climate Garden

This upstate New York garden was inspired by a visit to Laos

Today’s photos come from Nancy Ridenour of Ithaca, New York. She writes:

I first saw lotus while living in Laos during the 1960s. About 20 years ago, I found some at the Ithaca Farmers Market and purchased six plants. They were planted in a large pond behind my house and have thrived. The pond was initially dug to 5 feet in the center, tapering to the edge of the pond. There are over 500 plants that come up each year and produce gorgeous pink flowers. They are unique to this area and attract many visitors, sometimes through the Garden Conservancy.

Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera, Zones 5–10) is native over a wide range of Asia, where it is widely cultivated. It is an important symbol of divine perfection in many Asian religions. Looking at this beautiful flower, it is easy to see why it is so beloved.


Two fully open lotus flowers look up at another bloom in elegant bud. Lotus are not difficult to grow, and they adapt to a wide range of climates as long as they grow in standing water. Most varieties thrive in water between a few inches to several feet deep. Of the numerous varieties and selections, some are more cold tolerant than others.


If one lotus is beautiful, how about dozens . . .


. . . or even hundreds of lotus plants? Lotus plants form rhizomes that can spread rapidly through a pond. If you would like to keep them from spreading, lotus can be planted in large containers placed in the pond to keep them from running.


The steps lead down to the backyard garden, with the lotus pond in the rear.


This garden isn’t just about lotus. Here is one of the backyard beds.



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  1. User avater
    meander_michaele 08/07/2018

    Your pictured lotus variety looks like a classic beauty, Nancy. Have their been any spontaneous variations in color develop over the years in your colony? and do you do harvest the pods in the fall for other uses? The other parts of your garden look lovely and are certainly worthy of additional photo submissions.

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