Thursday, February 1, 2018

Open positions at Lilypons Water Gardens

Lilypons is hiring for the 2018 season!
Are you looking for a part time or full time job for the spring and summer? Do you have experience with or interest in retail sales and customer service? We're looking to hire motivated people who share our passion for ponds, gardening and the outdoors.

Are you interested in any of the 4 positions listed below? Please send your resume and at least two references to

All positions are seasonal. Knowledge of water gardening is preferred, but not required. Start and end dates are subject to change.
If you have a questions, please email or call (800 999 5459).

Retail Fulfillment Associate

The retail fulfillment associate is responsible for filling the live goods orders of retail customers. Great opportunity for someone who loves working with customers and enjoys being outside.

  • Pull and pack up pre-potted plants purchased in the store
  • Catch and package fish, snails and tadpoles as purchased by the customer
  • Answer customer questions
  • Keep the sales tanks free of weeds and pests
  • Assist with potted and dividing of plants as assigned


Dependable, customer service oriented, patient and friendly, able to lift 50 lbs and work outside in all weather conditions.

SCHEDULE: Starts March 24. Part time position (up to 4 days a week, including weekends).

Weekend Greeter

The weekend greeter is responsible for guiding customers in the right directions and answering basic questions about the grounds and the business.

  • Welcomes customers by greeting them; offering them assistance. 
  • Provides customers with a catalog and map and direct them to the right associate to help them further. 
  • Sells fish food for the koi pond.
  • Works with the rest of the team to keep the patio and show room clean and organized.


Listening, customer service, people skills, dependable, general math skills

SCHEDULE: Starts March 24. Weekends only through May

Retail Sales Associate

The retail sales associate is responsible for assisting customers with purchases and answering questions.

  • Welcomes customers by greeting them; offering them assistance.
  • Directs customers by escorting them to the right section of the store and suggesting items.
  • Advises customers by providing information on products.
  • Helps customers make selections by building customer confidence; offering suggestions and opinions.
  • Documents sale by creating or updating customer profile records.
  • Processes payments by totaling purchases; processing checks, cash, credit cards and gift cards.
  • Keeps clientele informed by notifying them of preferred customer sales and future merchandise of potential interest.
  • Contributes to team effort to keep the showroom and patio clean and organized.

Listening, customer service, meeting sales goals, selling to customer needs, product knowledge, people skills, dependability, general math skills. 

SCHEDULE: Starts March 24. Both weekday and and weekend schedules available.

Phone Customer Service Agent 

The customer service agent is responsible for answering phone calls and entering phone and internet orders.

  • Answering all incoming calls and either assisting the caller or transferring them to the appropriate person
  • Advises customers by providing information on products.
  • Helps customers make selections by building customer confidence; offering suggestions and opinions.
  • Enters customer orders and updates customer profile as needed
  • Keeps clientele informed by notifying them of preferred customer sales and future merchandise of potential interest.
  • Checks for new internet orders and enters them into the order processing system. 
  • Data entry / light office duties as assigned

Listening, customer service, selling to customer needs, product knowledge, people skills, dependable, general math skills. 

SCHEDULE:Starts March 25. Part time position; Sunday - Wednesday

Monday, August 7, 2017

Press release: At 100 years old, Lilypons Water Gardens becomes a woman-owned, and all woman-managed, business.

At 100 years old, Lilypons Water Gardens becomes a woman-owned and all woman-managed business.
On August 4, 2017, 100 years after the company’s founding, family patriarch Charles B. Thomas has officially passed ownership of the business and grounds on to his oldest daughter, Margaret Thomas Koogle and her spouse Timothy Koogle.
Mrs. Koogle has been managing the business on her father’s behalf since 1997 and is determined to ensure the family business thrives for another century. "I am humbled and honored to be the fourth generation owner of Lilypons Water Gardens,”  says Koogle, “I'm proud to lead an extremely talented and loyal staff and to continue our reputation to serve our clients with truly named water lilies, lotus, bog plants, quality products, advice, and exceptional service.”
Lilypons Water Gardens was started in June of 1917 by G. Leicester Thomas Sr., under the name Three Springs Fisheries.
The Company started as a fish hatchery and quickly grew to be one of the largest suppliers of goldfish, shipping fish to stores around the country. Business was so robust that in 1935, the US Postal Service established a post office on site specifically dedicated to the large volume of mail order parcels.

The name for this new post office came from Mr. Thomas' adoration of operatic diva of the time Lily Pons. Naming a place full of lily ponds after her seemed like the perfect fit. Ms. Pons and her publicity staff enthusiastically agreed but the Postal Service required a single-word name, thus Lilypons, Maryland was born. On June 20, 1936, the post office was officially dedicated to Lily Pons. The opera singer traveled to the Washington DC suburb especially for the occasion, a gala of much pomp and circumstance, and even sang an aria on the front porch.    
Over time the company took a more botanical path, shifting from growing and supplying goldfish to focus on water gardening and cultivating waterlilies.  In 1978 company president Charles B. Thomas officially changed the name to Lilypons Water Gardens.
Now celebrating its 100th year of existence, Lilypons Water Gardens continues to be The Source for Water Gardening for the nation, providing beautiful plants and quality pond supplies to customers across the country and Margaret sees great potential for growth.  In time, she intends to expand on service offerings and improve the site’s amenities to enhance its attraction to gardeners and outdoor lovers.   She and her dedicated staff looking forward to building on the company’s reputation of excellence and leadership in the industry. 
Lilypons Water Gardens is located at 6800 Lily Pons Road in Adamstown, MD 21710. We can be reached by phone at 800 999 5459 or online at

Company president Margaret Koogle (center) with office manager Melissa Richardand operations manager Suzanne Boom

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Proudly introducing a new hardy purple waterlily: Nymphaea "Garry Wagner"

Nymphaea 'Garry Wagner'
Nymphaea "Garry Wagner" was hybridized last year by Mike Giles and is exclusively available at Lilypons Water Gardens.
Creating a purple waterlily that can survive colder winters has been a goal for waterlily enthusiasts for many years.
Back in 2012 our own Richard Koogle visited Mike Giles at his farm in West Virginia. They talked about the progress Mike had made in creating a purple or blue hardy lily and we're absolutely thrilled that his hard work has paid off and we're honored to be able to offer this lily.

Nymphaea 'Lemonade'

Hybridization is the process of crossing existing lily varieties to create a new one. This is often done by manually pollinating flowers of one variety with pollen from a different variety, and then harvesting the seeds from those flowers. The plants grown from those seeds are then selected out based on whether they show the desired characteristics, and those are then crossed again until the resulting plants reliably produce the new unique look.

Hybrids can also occur naturally. An example of this is Nymphaea 'Lemonade', which was discovered at Lilypons by one of our employees, Greg Barton, in 1996. We cultivated it for the next 8 years until it could be propagated consistently.

The "Garry Wagner" is not the only purple hardy that we sell. A few years ago we added Nymphaea 'Purple Fantasy', hybridized by Florida Aquatics Nurseries to our collection.

That said, the "Garry Wagner" will forever be our favorite because it is named in honor of a man who was a lifelong member of the Lilypons family.
Garry Wagner
Garry Wagner was an employee at LilyPons for 53 years, from 1963 until his passing in 2016. He was a pond maintenance expert who for decades took care of the ponds of many of our customers.
He also did much of the maintenance of the grounds at Lilypons.
He was a kind man with a passion for the outdoors and loved hiking the Appalachian trail.

We all miss him terribly and it seemed only fitting to ensure that his name be forever tied to the ponds he loved so much.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Dealing with the cold

By all standards this winter has been downright balmy. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the last few nights were among the coldest we've had all year - and we're only a week away from spring.
Oh, and they're calling for a foot of snow tomorrow.

Inspired by the cold, and the fact that to me hibernation sounds like a perfectly reasonable way to spend the winter, I wanted to look at how the critters that live in our ponds survive the cold.

Koi and Goldfish

Koi and goldfish under a layer of ice.
Photo credit: Sven Jakubowski
For many of us water gardeners koi and goldfish are an important addition to our ponds. They add to both the aesthetic and entertainment value, and since they can life for many years, we can get quite attached to them. This is why it's good that these fish are able to survive even the colder winters.
Key to their survival are the unique properties of water.
Most substances get gradually denser (and thus heavier) as they cool down and turn from liquid to solid, but water is an exception to this rule. It reaches it's highest density at 40℉. If it cools down further it will expand again. This is why ice floats and why even in the middle of winter there can be a pocket of 40℉ water in the bottom of the pond, assuming the pond is deep enough.
Fish can exist comfortable in that bottom layer for several months, since they're coldblooded and their metabolism slows down to the point where they require little to no food.

Fish death can still occur during the winter if the surface of the water remains covered in ice for too long. If there is no exchange of gases (oxygen, CO²) between the water and the air the fish will eventually suffocate.
This is where pond de-icers come in; they create an opening in the ice so the oxygen level in the water can be maintained.


American Bullfrog.   Photo credit: CC BY-SA 2.5, 
Aquatic frogs, such as the leopard frog and bull frog, also wait out the winter in that pocket of warmer water in the bottom of the pond.
They don't bury completely in the mud, because they need to be able to extract oxygen from the water. Instead they simple rest on the bottom.
Like fish they can suffocate if the oxygen level in the water drops.
Toads and terrestrial frogs hibernate on land, either burrowed into the soil or in places such as leaf litter piles. If it gets cold enough, these frogs may actually freeze, This won't kill them, however, because their vital organs are protected by a natural anti-freeze.

By the way, frogs aren't just for show, they play an important role in your pond. They are a sign that your pond is healthy as they are sensitive to water quality issues. Also, as tadpoles they help keep your pond clean by eating algae and scavenging.


Dragonflies are a welcome addition to any pond as they hunt mosquitoes and other flying insects. These areal predators prefer to survey their domain from a high vantage point, so adding tall plants such a lotus and cattail can help attract them to your pond.
They lay their eggs in the water and the larval dragonflies, called nymphs, are fully aquatic and prey on mosquito larvae and even small fish and tadpoles.

Depending on the species, dragonflies can live through several winters, but they do so underwater as eggs or nymphs. Adult dragonflies cannot survive the winter, In fact, most adult dragonflies only live for a few weeks in which they mate and lay eggs.

Garter snakes

Garter snake basking on a warm winter day,
Photo credit: Suzanne Boom
I realize garter snakes aren't thought of as one of the inhabitants of your average garden pond, but they are a common visitor of the display ponds here at Lilypons .

Garter snakes survive the winter by brumating. Brumation is the reptile equivalent of hibernation. It's a slightly different mechanism that accomplishes the same thing - reducing the body's energy requirements to a bare minimum in order to survive the winter. One of the main differences is that brumating reptiles don't actually sleep and they don't live off fat reserves. Their metabolism, heart rate and breathing slow down due to the colder temperatures.
In garter snakes brumation serves a secondary purpose - it triggers the start of the mating season.
To ensure that mates will be available as soon as the weather warms up, garter snakes overwinter in large groups of a few dozen to several hundred individuals.
Their dens can be found in tree stumps, logs or rock piles, and even under man-made structures.
Once the mating season is over, the snakes remain mostly solitary until the late fall.

And when I say as soon as the weather warms up, I do mean as soon as. the photo above was taken on February 24th, when it was 75℉ here in Maryland. Garter snakes are the first snakes to become active in the spring and the last to start brumation in the fall.

I'm going to leave it at that for today. For those in the path of nor'easter Stella; stay safe and warm!