Monday, May 1, 2017

Recent Louisiana Iris hybrids

by Ron Killingsworth

It is always great fun to receive pictures of seedlings of Louisiana irises from the various hybridizers during the bloom season.  We are lucky to have many hybridizers in New Zealand and in Australia so we actually have two bloom seasons, one here in the USofA and one "down below".  The Louisiana iris discussion group on Yahoo is a great way to keep up with the latest and greatest hybrids.

'Bayou Renegade' by Joe Musacchia (2015)
Joe Musacchia lives about as far south in Louisiana as you can drive unless you have one of these neat little Italian cars that can cross the ocean.  Joe (know by friends as Cajun Joe) has produced lots of Louisiana hybrids and is the VP of the Society for Louisiana Irises.

'Boiled Crawfish' by Roland Guidry (2016)
Roland Guidry lives in Hammond, LA, about 45 miles east of Baton Rouge.  He has recently started hybridizing Louisiana irises again and produced this lovely red one.  He has a really nice white one, 'Cajun Popcorn' (2016).  Roland is a board member of the Society for Louisiana Irises.

'Flaming Hot' by Ron Betzer (2016)
Ron Betzer lives in Lafayette, LA, known by some as the Louisiana iris capital of the world.  There are certainly a lot of Louisiana irises in that area and some of the first and famous hybridizers of Louisiana irises lived in that area.  Ron has produced quite a few interesting Louisiana irises over the years.  He lived in CA for a long time but when he retired he moved back to LA.  One of his seedling he brought back from CA was named in honor of both states, "Cala" (Betzer 2008).

'Kenny's Keeper' by Benny Trahan (2016)
Benny Trahan lives in Slidell, LA, almost in MS.  This area was hard hit by hurricane Katrina.  Benny has a huge collection of species Louisiana irises and loves to cross species of Louisiana irises to produce hybrid irises with more of the species form.  There is another Louisiana iris, similar to this one in name and odd coloring, 'Finders Keepers' by Frank Chowning (1961).

'Finders Keepers' by Frank Chowning (1961)

'Key Lime Pie' by Kevin Vaughn (2016)

'Your Easter Bonnet' by Kevin Vaughn (2016)

Kevin Vaughn has hybridized just about everything that has pollen on it. He has produced many award winning Louisiana iris hybrids.  Kevin, a PhD "weed scientist", lived for a long time in MS but has moved to Salem, OR, where he continues his fine work.  He is a past president of the Society for Louisiana Irises.

'Kiss My Grits' by C. Dufrene (2016)
 Cindy Dufrene lives in Carriere, MS, an has produced many Louisiana iris hybrids.  This iris has a very "southern" name, you kinda have to be from the south to understand the name.

'Metairie Ridge' by Pat O'Connor (2016)

'Remoulade' by Pat O'Connor (2016)
Pat O'Connor, a great friend of mine, lives in Metairie, LA, just northeast of New Orleans.  Pat has hybridized many Louisiana irises and loves to name his irises after things/places/events of south Louisiana. 'Metairie Ridge' must be near where he lives.  'Remoulade' is an interesting south Louisiana ingredient/condiment.  Google it to find out more.

'Moomba Flare' by Peter Jackson (2016)

'Signals From Space' by Peter Jackson (2016)

'Swirlygig' by Peter Jackson (2016)
Peter Jackson lives "down under" and has hybridized very many Louisiana irises.  It is always interesting to see the names given to the hybrid irises from Australia.  So many Louisiana irises have typical Louisiana names, it is fun to guess at where the names given "down under" originated.

'Nadine Sarah' by D. R. Grieves (2016)

D. R. Grieves also lives in Australia and registered 15 Louisiana irises, all of them very pretty.  I would guess the name is someone special to him.

'Trip The Light' by Heather Pryor (2016)

Heather Pryor and her husband, Bernard live in West Hobart, TAS, Australia, and they have produced very many beautiful Louisiana irises hybrids.

The Louisiana irises have "come a long ways".  They hardly resemble the species found in the marshes and swamps of south Louisiana in the early 1900's.  Some still love the old "open form" and the "spidery" look, while others like the move full form with ruffles and and flourishes.  I like them all!

To learn more about Louisiana irises visit the Society for Louisiana Irises web site.  To learn more about other species of irises, visit the American Iris Society.

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