A Visit To Bergen Water Gardens & Nursery


1Every summer our Bonsai Society of Upstate New York has a garden tour. In the past we have visited excellent and interesting collections of Hosta, Dwarf Conifers and even a top Dwarf Conifer & Rare Plant Nursery.


Last evening we had a special private visit to the Bergen Water Gardens & Nursery in Churchville, New York, a Rochester suburb. Proprietors Larry & Lily Nau have had much experience with growing plants and fish, in New York as well as in China. They also import Jindezhen porcelain pots for waterlilies from China. Larry was the buyer for a tropical fish store for over 40 years. He was also President of the American Conifer Society and an avid waterlily grower.




Now in its 20th year, Bergen Water Gardens & Nursery in its 16 acer propriety specializes in lotus, waterlilies, koi, goldfish, pond supplies, carnivorous plants and dwarf conifers.


Lotus are a specialty and they have been importing select tubers from China for a few years as well as from the United States. They hybridize many new cultivars and have now amassed a collection of 350-400 different lotus cultivars. Bergen Water Gardens & Nursery was honored to be the first International Waterlily and Water GardeningCertified Nelumbo Collection of Excellence in the IWGS’s 37 year history.


Here you can find tall lotus, over 6 feet in height with flowers 8-9 feet tall as well as teacup lotus which fit in the palm of your hand. New and popular are bowl and micro lotus which grow well in pots only 6 inches in diameter. The flower are small in size too. There are dozens of different cultivars, which are just coming into blossom now. I got a few tubers last year and three more this season. Primarily I purchased them to display with bonsai and this week one began to blossom so a display was created for my Senior Monday Crew during lunch.




Larry Nau and his wife Lily welcomed our group of about 20 members to their beautiful nursery on a warm lovely evening. Larry presented a short program on the history of their nursery and explained many interesting facts about lotus and waterlilies. Before we toured his nursery, Lily arranged for a pizza snack with lotus roots as a topping. It tasted quite good and added a different texture.


Following the presentation Larry showed us all areas of his nursery and explained a few of his 70 plus ponds he dug and has full of lotus for display, sale and hybridization. We ended up in his sales area where several of our members purchased fish, lotus, marginal plants for bonsai accessories and supplies.

Check out their website if you can’t visit in person:



Thank you Larry and Lily for your hospitality to our group to enhance our appreciation of water plants. And the lotus topped pizza was delicious!