Plantation Point Nursery on Caddo Lake in Mooringsport, LA
It is great to see a revival of interest in Louisiana irises in their old localities, such as New Orleans, where we are beginning to see an increase in membership. This could also be true of the North Louisiana area near Shreveport. People were collecting and growing Louisiana irises there even before the organization of the Society for Louisiana Irises in 1941. I saw collected irises growing in the garden of William C. Fitzhugh of Shreveport before I went to South Louisiana to teach in 1940.

Louisiana irises growing in New Zealand after being imported

In the beginning there was a garden. Two gardens, in fact. One, of moderate size in the outskirts of Auckland’s west, and the other larger, in a rural area on the North Shore of the city. Each belonged to an enthusiastic member of the New Zealand Iris Society, who each belonged to a different Group of the Society.  

It all started when like minds met and so began a friendship based on our mutual love of irises, with Louisiana irises being one of our particular interests. We went on to collect what could be found within New Zealand shores, with each of us buying different hybrids to avoid duplication. At that time, in the mid to late nineties, there was quite a number of newer Louisiana hybrids in the country. They had been imported from Australia, mainly cultivars from John Taylor and Heather Pryor, through Rainbow Ridge Nursery.The importing nursery subsequently closed, and the supply of new cultivars came to an end.

A winter cover of snow at Louisiana Iris Gardens, Tully, New York

by M. J. Urist

In the cold, short days of midwinter, the irises and I are enjoying the closest thing to real dormancy we get all year. While I lounge next to the woodstove sipping tea, reflecting on the past growing season and plotting next year’s gardening endeavors, the irises rest beneath a thick blanket of snow. The thirty and forty degree temperatures of late autumn and early winter, mild for our climate, would have been the harshest of conditions for their southern brethren. Even so, the robust fans of leaves, dutifully pared back to nubs in late summer, had managed to push out a foot or more of new growth before the snow fell. Often the first question I am asked is, “You can grow those up here?” Then will follow, “Aren’t they cold tender?” “You have to grow them in water, right?”

 

Violet Ray

Photos and Story by Dr. Gladden Willis

As this Iris season comes and passes we would like to pay some attention to the Irises collected or hybridized by Miss Caroline Dormon. A few still reside here in the Bay Garden at the Caroline Dormon Nature Preserve and they include  Wheelhorse, Violet Ray, The Kahn, Saucy Minx, WoodViolet and FireAlarm

The annual color explosion of Briarwood's louisiana iris

by Richard Johnson

After a seemingly unending winter, spring arrived at Briarwood with an explosion of color and the air has been perfumed with a myriad of fragrances!

The harbingers of spring let us know in early March that spring was indeed coming with the various narcissus blooming in profusion across the wildflower meadow. Their abundant blooms letting us know that they, if no one else, appreciated the cold winter.