Monday, October 28, 2013

Louisiana Irises Create many Buena Vistas

by Ron L. Killingsworth in NW Louisiana

Every year during "bloom season", when the Louisiana irises are blooming, I always take hundreds of pictures of the iris blooms.  Last year I decided to take more "view" pictures with some of the beautiful parts of Caddo Lake and Plantation Point Nursery in the background.  I was quite pleased with the outcome and hope that you enjoy these "good views". You can learn more about Louisiana irises at the Society for Louisiana Irises web site.

'Ardoyne' by Joe Musacchia (2003
This picture of 'Ardoyne' was taken by the Koi pond which is full of beautiful Japanese Koi.  There is an island in the middle of the pond (tank for your Texicans) and the two large "crane" birds stand on the island and give the fish something to think about.  'Ardoyne' was named by Joe for the Ardoyne Plantation Home in Houma, LA, where Joe lives.  Houma is south of New Orleans!

Louisiana irises grow in a small pond
Louisiana irises are quite happy growing in water.  In this picture they grow in a small pond that we modeled after Marie Caillet's famous pond in Little Elm, TX.  The bridge is made of bamboo as we have a large stand of bamboo on the property.  It will support people!  Bamboo is used in many parts of the world as scaffolding.

'Black Widow' by W. B. MacMillan 1953
'Black Widow' is one of my favorite Louisiana irises.  It is the older open form and is one of the darkest Louisiana irises.  It is an early bloomer and this photograph shows a nice clump of it with Caddo Lake and bald cypress trees in the background.

Louisiana irises grow by Caddo Lake
Caddo Lake in NW Louisiana is in the "Ark-LA-Tex", where AR, LA and TX all meet.  It is a natural lake and there is much discussion concerning the way it was formed.  Caddo Indians left a rich heritage in this part of the country and the parish (county) is named for them.  Again, bald cypress trees grow in the water.  The trees produce tannins that make the lake water very dark.

'Her Highness' by Levingston 1957
'Her Highness' is a collected I. giganticaerulea alba and is a beautiful white iris that grows very tall.  Another favorite, it stands out in a crowd!  A small pond is in the background and my sister grows fresh water shrimp in this pond.

Louisiana irises in a "clump"
A large group of multicolored Louisiana irises can really be breathtaking.  We are commercial growers and most of our irises are in four feet by four feet beds by variety.  We purposely made some beds with many different colored irises which are unnamed and for viewing pleasure only.

'Fringed Gold' by D. L. Shepard 1992
'Fringed Gold' is a beautiful Louisiana iris and in this picture a large clump in full bloom shows the Koi pond and birds in the background.  My sister's home is in the distance.

"May pops" grow in the ditches of Northern Louisiana and as children we used to eat them when they ripened.  They have a beautiful bloom.  I posted this on the web and received pictures of many different varieties from around the US.

Louisiana irises in full bloom near Caddo Lake
This is a group of 100 four by four beds down near the lake.  We have irises growing in just about every conceivable method.  These are in dug beds lined with plastic and irrigated from the lake.

Louisiana irises - a group of "Professors"

Professor Joe Merzweiller, a college professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, LA in the 50's and 60's, was the first to produce a tetraploid Louisiana iris through chemical conversion.  He then hybridized these irises and produced 10 registered Louisiana irises named for his professor friends -- Professor Jim, Professor Ike, Professor Marta Marie, etc.  Tetraploid Louisiana irises tend to grow taller and have larger blooms.

Greenhouse at Plantation Point Nursery, Mooringsport, LA
This picture shows a group of Louisiana irises growing next to the Koi pond and the greenhouse in the background.  The huge "sandstone" rocks on the left were dug up on the property and will one day be part of a "water feature" on this pond.

Louisiana irises in full bloom
"Professor somebody" in the front with 'Her Highness' in the background.  The white object in the far background is the gate onto the pier that goes out 150 feet into Caddo Lake.

Louisiana iris view
This picture shows a group of Louisiana irises in full bloom with the "fresh water shrimp" pond in the background and Caddo Lake in the far background.

Louisiana irises on Caddo Lake
Another bunch of "Professor Somebody" (maybe 'Professor Jim') growing near the lake.  The group of yellow irises in the middle background are iris.pseudacorus, a native of Europe, that grows great in water. Unfortunately this iris is often sold by nurseries as Louisiana irises and are often used by landscape companies when planting irises in the landscape.  They are very invasive!  The background shows the pier and boathouse behind the bald cypress trees.

Louisiana irises in a clump
This picture shows a large clump of white Louisiana irises with Caddo Lake and the bald cypress trees in the background.  I failed to note the name of the iris but here they are just a part of a "Buena Vista".

Louisiana irises growing near Caddo Lake, Mooringsport, LA
Another group of Louisiana irises in full bloom with a great picture of the edge of Caddo Lake and bald cypress trees in the background.  Caddo Lake is a 25,400 acre lake and wetlands that is located in NW Louisiana and NE Texas. The lake is named after the Southeastern culture of Native Americans called Caddoans or Caddo, who lived in the area until the 19th century.

Louisiana irises with mixed colors in full bloom on Caddo Lake

Louisiana irises grow in the edge of a pond in NW Louisiana
These Louisiana irises are some of my "babies" (irises I hybridized) that I did not want to keep for registration and/or introduction.  They were great irises but not worthy of registration.  I planted them in the edge of the "fresh water shrimp" pond and each year I see at least one that I think I should have kept and registered!

'Our Friend Harry' by Ron Killingsworth 2011
Well, I had to put at least one of my "babies" in this blog.  This is 'Our Friend Harry' and is named for a good friend and former president of the Society for Louisiana Irises, Harry Wolford of Palm Bay, FL. This is by the Koi pond and again you can see the large birds on the island and the arched bridge.

A very "tall" Tall Bearded iris
This is one of Sue's (my wife) old species of Tall Bearded that grows well in Louisiana.  Usually it is too hot and wet for Tall Bearded irises to do well in Louisiana (or in much of the subtropical south).  This one is in a shaded area and grew quite tall, some 52 inches!

If you are interested in learning more about Caddo Lake, please visit their web site at Caddo Lake.
To learn more about all types of irises just browse over to The American Iris Society web site and check it out!

1 comment:

  1. This picture of 'Ardoyne' was taken by the Koi pond which is full of beautiful Japanese Koi. There is an island in the middle of the pond (tank for your Texicans)...Fast Growing Tree Nursery


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