Monday, July 7, 2014

Iris Bloom Season in Northwest Louisiana - Part 1

by Ron Killingsworth

It seems the "normal" bloom season is not the "usual" bloom season.  Bloom was late this year, very late, and when it arrived, the Dutch irises, Tall Bearded, i.virginica, Spuria irises and Louisiana irises all bloomed at the same time.  And when I say the Louisiana irises all bloomed at the same time, I mean the early, mid and late bloomers all bloomed at once.  We had a relatively short bloom but boy was it something with all the irises blooming at once!

I wanted to share some spring pictures with you.  Most of the pictures are irises but I have thrown in a few other things just to keep you interested.  Sue, my wife, increased the number of Tall Bearded irises she is growing so we had quite a few in bloom this year.

"Applause Line" Tall Bearded by Joe Ghio 2004

It is difficult to grow bearded irises in the heat of Louisiana, but Sue and I built some raised beds in an area of the side yard that is shaded from about 2 PM til dark.  We made sure the beds are well drained and are watered very little from the sprinkler system.  They seem to be doing quite well.  Time will tell.

"Blue Jean Baby" a Louisiana iris by Charles Arny 1987

 "Blue Jean Baby" is one of my favorites - it is so pretty, in part because of the name.  There is nothing prettier than "my baby" in blue jeans!  Charles Arny is no longer with us but he left a lot of beautiful irises for us to enjoy.

"Braggin Rights" a Tall Bearded iris by Tom Burseen 2004
 Sue and I love Tall Bearded irises but they just do not like the weather in Louisiana.  Too hot and too wet.  Basically the same reasons most PEOPLE do not like the weather in Louisiana!  But this is a beautiful iris and worthy of bragging about, and it is growing.

"Bullion Audit" a Louisiana iris by T. J. Betts (2003) of Australia
This is an example of a beautiful yellow iris that should be welcomed in any garden. I really like the veining and the green throat of the style arms. 

"Cedar Bayou" a Louisiana iris by K. Strawn 1993
Registered as a "violet-blue" iris, it is a beauty and a great garden iris.

"Chacahoula Fire" a Louisiana iris by Rusty McSparrin 2005
A really breathtaking iris with some fantastic coloring.  The signals are outlined in red while red veining continues to the end of the petals.  I like the color, the form -- the whole thing!

"Cherokee Rose" antique rose bush - climbing
This rose bush is a welcomed sight each spring.  It blooms early and then it is gone.  The flowers are really pristine white and beautiful.  They remind me that Easter is near.

"Colorific" a Louisiana iris by Joe Mertzweiller 1978
This is a beautiful bi-tone iris with green style arms.  Mertzweiller was a college professor and hybridized a lot of irises.  He also converted the first Louisiana iris tetraploids.

"Dixie Deb" a Louisiana iris by Frank Chowning 1950
"Dixie Deb" is an "oldie but goody".  It still wins high level awards at iris shows.  The older open form is favored by many, myself included.  That is "Dr. Dormon" in the background - see more about this iris below.

Double Poppy (We call them Marie's Poppies)

Marie Calliet was a charter member of the Society for Louisiana Irises and lived in Little Elm, TX, north of Dallas the last years of her life.  We obtained some poppy seeds from her on one of our visits to her garden and we grow them in NW Louisiana.  This is an example of a double that grows well and blooms during the Louisiana iris bloom season.

"Dr. Dormon" a Louisiana iris by Sidney Conger in 1972
This iris was named for Caroline Dormon, a famous conservationist and botanist, among other things.  She lived near Saline, LA, and started Briarwood Nature Preserve.  This is one of many irises named to honor Caroline Dormon.

"Dural White Butterfly" a Louisiana iris by John C. Taylor 1989

John Taylor has hybridized many Louisiana irises "down under".  He has produced many beautiful and award winning irises.  This iris, although registered in 1989, remains an award winning white loved by all iris lovers.

Dutch Irises
We grow many varieties of Dutch irises and they are usually the first to bloom in our gardens.  This year they bloomed quite late.

More Dutch irises in NW Louisiana

White Dutch irises growing in NW Louisiana

"Fire Alarm" a Louisiana iris by Caroline Dormon 1951
This is one of Caroline Dormon's earlier irises and is actually more red than shown in this picture.

"Elvis Dreamer" a Tall Bearded by Tom Burseen 2008

"Enviable" a Louisiana iris by M. D. Faith 2002
M. D. Faith is no longer with us but he left a legacy of beautiful Louisiana irises.  He started hybridizing late in life but that did not stop him from producing some beauties.

"Extra Dazzle" a Louisiana iris by Heather Pryor 2003
Heather Pryor and her husband Bernard have introduced many beautiful Louisiana irises.  They live "down under" and often visit the US during the American Iris Society conventions.  Heather is a blogger here on World of Irises.

I'll continue my pictorial of the bloom season in NW Louisiana with part two.  Meantime, if you are interested in growing Louisiana irises, or just want to know more about them, then visit the website at Society for Louisiana Irises.  If you want to know more about all irises, visit the website of the American Iris Society.  Hope you enjoyed the pictures.

1 comment:

  1. Great pictures, thank you. The white one was breathtaking. I also love 'Applause Line' . I have a request. Because everything bloomed at once, I would love to see a landscape shot taken from a distance.


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