Monday, October 20, 2014

Iris Bloom Season in NW Louisiana - Part III


by Ron Killingsworth

As promised, here is Part III sharing photographs of irises from the Caddo Lake area in NW Louisiana.  I have included a bit of history of the region and hybridizers, and I hope you enjoy the photographs.


The hybridizer Pat O'Connor lives just outside New Orleans and loves to name his irises for local features such as bridges, cities, canals, swamps, and streets in New Orleans.   Poverty Point is a World Heritage Site with ancient mounds built by native Americans.  This beautiful iris with great coloring and signals is a fitting tribute to the site.
'Poverty Point' (Pat O'Connor, 1999)

The Rigolets is a 12.9 kilometer (8 mi) long strait in south Louisiana. "Rigolets" comes from the word rigole, French for "trench" or "gutter." The name is locally pronounced "RIG-uh-leez."
'Rigolets'  (O'Connor, 2004)

Two of my favorite Louisiana irises side by side:  'Cest Si Bon' is about as "cajun" as you can get and this Louisiana iris is really a beauty.  'Rusty O' was named by Charles Arny for Rusty Ostheimer (now McSparrin).  Rusty and her husband Bud grow many Louisiana irises down below Lafayette, LA.
'C'est Si Bon' (Taylor, 1983) on left and 'Rusty O' (Arny, 1991) on right


Harry Wolford lives in Palm Bay, FL, and used to watch the lift off of the space shuttle from his back yard.  That's Seminole country and Harry has named quite a few Louisiana irises Seminole this or that.  I love the veining in this iris.
'Seminole Autumn' (Wolford, 2004)
And here is 'Seminole Moon', with a bit of orange in the yellow.
'Seminole Moon' (Wolford, 2009)
And finally, 'Seminole Sunrise', a fine red.
'Seminole Sunrise' (Wolford, 2004)

This iris is a tetraploid Louisiana iris that is quite different from the other few tetraploids on the market.  Tetraploid irises have more diversity in their genetic make-up and thus are highly prized by hybridizers.
'Texas Toast' (Mertzweiller, 2005)


This is definitely an "oldie but goodie", just one of many that Caroline Dormon registered. If you are ever in central Louisiana, don't miss her old home which is now Briarwood Nature Preserve located near Saline.
'Violet Ray' (Dormon, 1949)


'Wheelhorse' is a well know Louisiana iris and can be found in the genealogy of many fine Louisiana irises.
'Wheelhorse' (Dormon, 1952)


And here is 'Wood Violet', aptly named.


'Wood Violet' (Dormon, 1943)



This picture of a clump of award-winning irises was taken by my Koi pond; the whooping crane statues in the background watch over the irises.
'Red Velvet Elvis' (Vaughn 1991)

And here is a massive planting of mixed Louisiana irises -- the view from my front porch.


Finally, I thought I'd share one of the tall bearded irises my wife Sue has successfully grown in our hot and wet climate:  'Violet Shimmer'.  
'Violet Shimmer" (Moores, 1995)

Well that about wraps it up, and I hope you enjoyed the show.  If you want to learn more about Louisiana irises please visit the website of the Society for Louisiana Irises, and to learn more about many other species of irises, visit the website of the American Iris Society.


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