Where the Water Lilies Grow


228 pages
Contains Photos, Index
ISBN 1-896219-52-7
DDC 591.9713




Reviewed by Patrick Colgan

Patrick Colgan is the former executive director of the Canadian Museum
of Nature.


In this sequel to The Place in the Forest (1997), well-known nature
writer R.D. Lawrence describes the natural history of a lake over the
course of a year in terms of changing elements, growing plants, and
interacting animals. Particular attention is paid to predation (from the
viewpoint of both prey and predators), as well as to reproduction and
growth. Natural events and seasonal changes are blended with personal
excursions and experiences. The text is supplemented with
black-and-white photographs (about half of which were taken by the
author) and an index, but contains no bibliography.

The mixture of observation, interpretation, and reflection is conveyed
in a polished and flowing style. While the approach is often poetic (at
one point Wordsworth is quoted at length), the writing is strengthened
with some useful discussion of underlying topics such as physiology,
parasitism, and ecological energy cycles. There a few blemishes (e.g.,
inverted causality in “brown riffles stirred the wind,” redundant
“binocular eyes,” and what is “the strange aura” with which a
weasel affects its victims?), but overall this biography of a lake makes
for very pleasant reading.


Lawrence, R.D., “Where the Water Lilies Grow,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 23, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/2003.