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SLI’s spring plans do not include the usual convention members may be accustomed to. While we came out of COVID and held an excellent meeting in Lafayette last year, planning for 2023 presented significant obstacles that have pushed us to experiment with a different sort of get-together, one not based on the familiar convention model. As a result, we are planning for “SLI Iris Spring 2023” in Lafayette, a low-key event that will offer an opportunity for an excellent Louisiana iris experience.

It will not be a hotel-based event. Everyone is free to stay where they wish, and, with one exception, meals will be “on your own.”  Here’s the plan (with additional details to be provided on the SLI website,  via email, and after registration):

Friday evening, April 14, 4 PM till 8 PM  – Rendevous at Cypress Lake

Casual dinner, informal program, social hour, and membership meeting around the famous Cypress Lake on the campus of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. We’ll gather on the veranda of the UL Lafayette Student Union, which overlooks the Lake.

We are organizing a panel on the endangered irises in the Abbeville Swamp, Iris nelsonii, once called the “Abbeville Reds.” Cypress Lake is a perfect once-and-future site to display and help preserve these irises. The relative proximity of the endangered, wild I. nelsonii to Lafayette makes them a particular concern for iris and native plant enthusiasts in the area.

A brief meeting will be held after the dinner to elect SLI officers and conduct a few other items of business. It will constitute the General Membership Meeting of the organization for 2023. The meeting will begin at 6 PM followed immediately by the panel on the Abbeville Reds.

Registration for the event will be $25 and will include the meal.

You can expect door prizes consisting of the rarely offered Iris nelsonii, other species, and recent Louisiana iris introductions.

Saturday, April 15 – Festival des Fleurs de Louisiane, Blackham Coliseum, 2330 Johnston St., Lafayette. Admission $5.

SLI will again participate in the Festival des Fleurs, a premier garden event and Lafayette tradition.. We will not have a sanctioned AIS show this year, but we will be set up with bottles and stands for members to bring irises to display for the several thousand attendees at this premier garden event. We will also have a booth at which we will sell rhizomes to raise funds for the Society, answer questions, and distribute information about the irises and organization.

Eileen Hollander of New Orleans will conduct a one-hour Show Judging session at 2 PM during the Festival. There is no charge, and anyone who registers may attend. After the Festival ends at 4 PM, Eileen will add an hour of training on Garden Judging at the Ira Nelson Horticulture Center (next door to the Blackham Coliseum). Judges Training is a great way to learn about the best attributes of Louisiana irises, and an intent to become an iris judge is not necessary to participate.

The Festival itself is an outstanding event with a wide range of vendors offering plants and garden-related items.

SLI needs volunteers to help in our booth and with the display irises. An hour (or a few) during the Festival will be a huge help.   Contact ….[NEED A CONTACT HERE]

Garden Access

Garden tours are the highlight of conventions for many. While we will not have buses and formal garden tours, arrangements are being made for times that visitors can see several  outstanding Louisiana iris gardens and public plantings. Transportation is on-your-own, but we will be making an effort to carpool to the extent possible. 

Jim and Kathy Leonard’s Louisiana Iris Farms, Lafayette

Jim has extended an invitation for visitors during our SLI Iris Spring 2023  event to browse at Louisiana Iris Farms during the days of the event. It will not be a formal gathering; just come, walk around and look.

No commercial nursery offers a larger collection of irises than Louisiana Iris Farm. Unless the weather conspires to complete the bloom season before we meet, this will be great iris viewing opportunity.

506 Chelsea Dr, Lafayette, LA.  Park at the barn – boots may be needed

Ron and Eugenie Betzer Garden, Lafayette

Ron’s Garden will be open on Sunday, April 16 from 8 AM till Noon, and at other times during Friday and Saturday by appointment.

Ron Betzer is an outstanding hybridizer with a beautiful garden in a unique setting overlooking the Vermilion River. His garden has been on tour for conventions in the past, and it is always a hit. You can expect to see Ron’s introductions as well as a wide range of beautiful culivars from other hybridizers.

Ron’s garden was on tour for the 2022 SLI convention, and the guest beds for that event are still intact. Last year the very late bloom season robbed many attendees the opportunity to see these irises, and with a little cooperation from the weather, visitors will get a second bite of this delicious apple.

120 Adair Lane, Lafayette

Gordon Rabalais Garden, Arnaudville

Gordon Rabalais’s diverse and beautiful garden in Arnaudville, about fifteen miles east of Lafayette, will be open on Friday, April 14 from 9 AM till 2 PM, ahead of the evening events around Cypress Lake.

Directions will provided upon registration.

Moncus Park – Open every day.  

Moncus Park in Lafayette had just opened ahead of the 2022 SLI convention, and it was not on tour. The Park contains significant plantings of Louisiana irises contributed by SLI and arranged by Jim Leonard. Visitors can go to the Park on their own schedule. It is located within walking distance of the Blackham Coliseum and open seven days a week, 5 AM till 10 PM. Currently, there is a fee for parking but none for admission.


Lafayette Visitors Center – Gateway to Lafayette


This Visitors Center is a treat. Beautifully landscaped and with boardwalks over a series of ponds planted with Louisiana irises some years ago. A fun stop for far more than coffee, a map, and the restroom. Take a look at a video on Facebook:

Car Pooling


Although everyone is responsible for arranging their transportation to gardens, when we get closer to the event and know who is coming, we will try to arrange some car pooling. You can expect maps and other assistance if you register for SLI Iris Spring 2023



With no convention, there is no convention hotel. We will send a list of hotels to consider to those who register or inquire. Because of the Festival des Fleurs and the many vendors it attracts, it is strongly recommended that hotel reservations in Lafayette be made early. 




The registrar for SLI Iris Spring 2023 will be Ron Killingsworth, 10329 Caddo Lake Road, Mooringsport, LA 71060, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To register or get on a mailing list for updates and additional information copy complete the brief registration form below.  You may the $25 fee by check or Paypal.Acadiana Flag with border

The annual Society for Louisiana Irises was held in Lafayette, LA, from April 4 - 7th and was a great success.

Sorry we missed you.  Watch for more information in the Summer 2019 issue of the "Fleur de Lis"

Convention in Lafayette

The 2015 Convention Registration form is available here:  2015 SLI Convention Registration Form 

The link below is the article that  appeared in the Winter 2014 Fleur de Lis. It has information on the Thursday and Friday tours, the convention hotel and information on how to further enjoy your stay in Lafayette: 

Information about the 2015 convention tours, the host hotel and things to do in Lafayette


The 2016 Convention Registration form is available here:   2016 Convention Registration Form

The 2016 Convention Schedule is available here:  2016 Convention Schedule

The link below is the article that  appeared in the Winter 2015 Fleur de Lis. It has information on the  gardens we will be visiting:

2016 Convention Garden Preview