Thursday, May 3, 2012

LA Irises Blooming in Northwest Louisiana

Bloom season in Northwest LA is about over for another year.  We were about three weeks early with bloom this year which made for an interesting bloom season.  Bloom season usually starts with Dutch irises and daffodils followed by iris.virginica and then Tall Bearded irises. As the season progresses, the LA iris early bloomers will begin to pop out.  This year we had all the above blooming at the same time and even some day-lilies!  So this year we had a quick and short bloom season.  Toward the end of the season (third week of April -- which should normally be second week of May) we had early bloomers, mid bloomer and late bloomers all blooming together.  The unusually early bloom season did have one reward -- we had some late bloomers in our annual iris show and it was a refreshing change to see some of those irises win awards!

LA iris 'Adell Tingle' (Hutchins, B 2006)
 'Adell Tingle' was named for my aunt.  She is a self-taught wildflower expert and wrote a column on wildflowers and country living for a Bienville Parish, LA newspaper. Auntie A has more knowledge of plants than I could ever hope to absorb.  I wish I could download her brain into my brain like copying a hard disk drive.

'Atchafalaya' (Campbell, F 1998)
 'Atchafalaya' was named for the Atchafalaya (Ugh chaf a lie ugh) basis in south LA where many LA irises once grew.  Unfortunately this native habitat of LA irises has been heavily damaged by recent hurricanes, canals built by oil companies and urban sprawl by surrounding cities.

'Bayou Tiger' (Strawn, K 1993)
 'Bayou Tiger' is a great garden iris with beautiful LSU colors.  It continues to be one of my favorites.

'Bound for Glory' (Pryor, H 1999)
 'Bound for Glory' is shown growing next to some really big and tall poppies.  We obtained the seeds for these poppies from the late Marie Caillet, a charter member of the Society for Louisiana Irises.  They grow with the irises and since they "self seed", they now grow throughout most of the property.

'Chacahoula Fire' (McSparrin, R 2005)
 'Chacahoula Fire' was probably named for Chacahoula, LA, a south LA town with a really interesting background. This pretty iris with distinctive signals surrounded by red is an eye catcher in anyone's garden.
'Extra Dazzle' (Pryor, H 2003)
 'Extra Dazzle' has a lot going on!  First, it has signals on all the petals. On LA irises usually the signal is located where the "beard" is located on Tall Bearded irises and normally the signal is only found on the falls. It also has a white "halo" around all the petals and a lot of veining.  I would say the iris is properly named and will dazzle anyone who grows it.

There is much discussion among iris growers about the difficulty of growing LA irises.  I have found that LA irises will pretty much grow anywhere I plant them.  Then again, I live in LA, the home of LA irises.  We have recently planted some LA irises with other plants and the following pictures will show that they do in fact grow well with other plants.  Don't plant them with your cacti, they will not be happy.  But most other plants will grow with LA irises.

LA irises growing with other plants to include hostas
LA irises growing around a small pond with Caddo Lake and bald cypress trees in background
I just had to post this picture of our "rock pond" which has a large limestone rock in the middle.  I tried to dig it up with a backhoe but it was simply too large.  So, I just dug a pond around it.  Historic Caddo Lake, shared between northwest LA and northeast TX, is seen in the background with bald cypress trees growing in the water.  The northern part of the lake has Spanish moss on all the trees but for some reason the open part of the lake near us has very little Spanish moss.

LA irises growing with "hardy" gladiolas and poppies
Time to wrap it up for this session but I'll be back soon with more pictures and stories of the official wildflower of the State of LA. The great State of LA celebrated its 200 year birthday on Monday (April 30th, 2012)!


  1. Great post, Ron, and beautiful LA irises.

  2. Very Interesting blog i love your information thanks for sharing with us.

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