Monday, August 31, 2020

Some of my “favorite” Louisiana Irises

by Ron Killingsworth

'Bayou Tiger'

‘Bayou Tiger’ (Strawn, K 1993) has to be a favorite for any LSU fan!  I have given away more rhizomes of this iris than any other.  Every LSU fan wants this iris.  Although it is not exactly LSU colors, it is as close as any iris I have grown.

'Bit of Blue'
‘Bit of Blue’ (Arny, Charles 1975) is registered as “wisteria blue self” and 36” in height but grows a little shorter for me.  It has smaller blossoms and is what I would call “dainty”. It is one of my favorite blue irises along with ‘Clyde Redmond’ (Arny, Charles 1970) which is registered as “cornflower blue self”.

'Boiled Crawfish'
‘Boiled Crawfish’ (Guidry, R 2016) is a “newcomer” and an “eye-catcher”.  I can only assume the name comes from the color of crawfish that have been boiled.  Great name for a Louisiana iris as Louisiana is certainly the home of boiled crawfish, spicy and hot.

'Creole Rhapsody'
'Creole Rhapsody'
‘Creole Rhapsody’ (Mertzweiller, J 1998) is registered as 30-34” in height but grows much taller for me.  It is one of the prettiest bit-ones in my opinion and while the ploidy level is blank, it come from a tetraploid seeding crossed with

'Dancing Vogue'
‘Dancing Vogue’ (Taylor, J.C. 1991) is a pretty pink iris from Australia.  Mr. Taylor has produced a lot of nice Louisiana irises.  I like the color and I guess “pink” is close enough.

'Dark Dude'
‘Dark Dude’ (Betzer, Ron 2010) is, to my opinion, the darkest Louisiana iris.  The second darkest is 
‘Bout Midnight’ (Dunn, Mary 1988) and is the pod parent of ‘Dark Dude’. 'Dark Dude' is one of the Mary Swords Debaillon Medal winners in 2019.

'Extra Dazzle'
   ‘Extra Dazzle’ (Pryor, Heather 2003) is certainly properly named.  There is so much dazzling about this iris I do not know where to begin.  The green style arms are so striking.  The signal on all petals give the middle of the iris an eye-catching beauty.  Heather and Bernard Pryor, of Australia, have hybridized some amazing irises.

‘Flareout’ (Granger, M 1988) is often misspelled as “Flare Out” so if you search for it, be sure you spell it correctly.  Marvin Granger found a “cartwheel” form growing in the wild and collected it.  He hybridized it into several other doubles or cartwheel form and I enjoy all of them.  ‘Flareout is a beautiful blue and the blooms are as flat as a plate.  If you like this flower form, look up ‘Rose Cartwheel’ (Granger, M 1980) for the rose colored one. Granger registered 43 Louisiana irises.

'Good Doctor'
‘Good Doctor’ (Mertzweiller, J) is a nice white self with a greenish yellow signal.  There is not an excess of white Louisiana irises and I hope someone is working on producing more pure white irises.  Dr. Mertzweiller is more noted for his work with tetraploid LA irises.

'Gulf Moon Glow'
‘Gulf Moon Glow’ (Faggard, A 1994) has been around a long time and is grow in many gardens.  Mr. Faggard failed to introduce this iris and it caused confusion in many iris shows, “is it a seedling or should it be in the registered section?”.  I finally introduced it for him in 2017 to end the confusion. It is one of my top 10 favorite LA irises.

'Hush Money'
If you read my “blog” from time to time, you know that ‘Hush Money’ (Dunn, Mary 1998) is probably in the top 5 for me.  I love the name and the iris.  It is a smaller flower with shorter foliage.  It has an impressive genealogy.  I simply love the colors and the form of this beautiful iris.

'Longue Vue'
‘Longue Vue’ (Haymon, Dormon 1999) is another well known and beautiful white iris.  It was named in honor of the Longue Vue Home and Gardens in New Orleans, a wonderful place you should visit if ever in New Orleans.

'Mighty Rich'
‘Mighty Rich’ (Arny, Charles 1982) is properly named!  You can see it from far away.  It stands out!  Registered as “ruby red”, the bright yellow signal is striking.

'Our Parris'
‘Our Parris’ (Carroll, C 1987) also has a tricky name.  Usually one thinks of Paris, the city, but I assume this was named for a person.  The colors are very different, and it is registered as “cream ground with peach to dusty pink overtones”.  Some irises are just simply hard to describe.

'Pointe Aux Chenes'
‘Pointe Aux Chenes’ (Musacchia, Joe 2005) is registered as “golden peach self”.  It is an interesting color with darker veining.  Pointe Aux Chenes is a city in Louisiana that is know for being a wonder location for red fishing and is just south of Houma, the area in which Joe lives.  He, along with Patrick O’Connor, love to name irises for places and things in south Louisiana.

'Praline Festival'
‘Praline Festival’ (Haymon, Dormon 1992) is a color that is hard to describe.  Registered as “cream, heavily veined and dusted rose-tan” might do the job.  The name raises another question. Does it connect to the Praline Festival held in Houma, LA, where there is a contest on the best and biggest pralines, or is it about the famous candy of south Louisiana, pralines?  Pralines are described as “a confection of nuts (make that pecans or pe cans depending on where you live) and sugar.  Wikidiff proclaims that pralines are made from almonds, but I beg to disagree. Real pralines are made with pecans.

'Royal Velour'
‘Royal Velour’ (Conger, Sidney 1953) is certainly velvety.  Check out the difference in meaning between velour and velvet.   I love this iris because I knew Sidney, lived in the same town (Arcadia, LA) and it is a great example of an “oldie but goodie”.

'Seminole Moon'
‘Seminole Moon’ (Wolford, Harry 2009) is a color you do not see often in irises.  Registered as “yellow” but certainly has more colors than just yellow.  And you must love those green style arms.  Harry registered quite a few “Seminole ____” (fill in the blank) and that is not surprising, since he lives in Seminole country, Florida, home of the Seminoles, FL State University as well as the native Americans.

'Splitter Splatter'
‘Splitter Splatter’ (Grieves, D. R. 2004) is probably loved by members of the Novelty Iris Society (  I could not find the address of their website, but this is their Facebook group. I love this iris because it is different.  The bleeding pattern on each petal differs from bloom to bloom but is always there in one form or another.

If you often read my blogs, you probably noticed I repeat myself.  I can not help it, I have favorites and although I like just about every iris I see, some stand out for me.  If you love something, share it with others.  Who knows, they may learn to love it also.

To learn more about Louisiana irises, visit their website here.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Russian Hybridizing 2

By Sergey Stroganov

Editor's Note: In this second part, Sergey writes about some other seedlings he enjoyed in his first crop. Any of us who have hybridized know this special thrill when see the first children.

The next cross I liked was 18-73: ‘One of a Kind’ X ‘Mood Ring’. It bloomed almost in full, and most importantly, gave a large variety of fun seedlings with good branching and growth, including a lot of brown seedlings, despite the fact that this color is not common (most likely, these genes are carried by the ‘Mood Ring’?).

Parents first:

‘One of a Kind’


‘Mood Ring’


18-73A: standards are largely inherited from my mother, and it turned out quite unusual, in my opinion.


18-73B: I have already seen a similar color scheme in seedlings. This one won me over with its branching. Well, the combination of blue and brown (on the hangers and border) looks modern.


18-73C: now go brown - this brown-gold.

18-73D is lighter in tone and touches are added to the beard.

18-73E: this one impressed me the most of the entire party with its uniqueness.

18-73F did not blossom in full force this time.. also from a series of brown, with a striped iridescence.

18-73H and this color was also present. Note that almost all seedlings on the standards are visible venation, this is from One of a Kind.

18-73I again brown with strokes, apparently created to confuse me.

18-73J - an even richer brown and an even rarer color.



And finally for today-Seedling 18-343A: 'In the Morning ' X 'Another Suggestion'. From this cross, only 2 seedlings bloomed - the first was unsuccessful, but this one exceeded my expectations and became my favorite seedling this season.


Monday, August 17, 2020

A Sneak Peak at Smokin Heights

 By Mel Schiller

Smokin Heights is a Bearded Iris nursery. We grow, hybridize and import Bearded Iris to Australia.

Come Spring time we chose to open our gardens in October to public visitors to view the iris and the way they are grown in our conditions. We get to interact with customers and give what we consider the best advice possible when asked!

Our main Bearded Iris field is grown over a minimum of two acres. This area is where we plant our catalogue lines for the public’s viewing. We normally choose to plant the field in the same format as our catalogue. Start one end and follow through each page of our catalogue to check descriptions and pricing.

We then have our seedling area which is spread over ½ to ¾ of an acre where we have our first, second and third year seedlings. In this area we also grow our new release for the next season as well as the stock we do not have enough to catalogue.

Over the years we have planted iris in amongst the garden beds to cater for the aged and less mobile visitors to view our garden, to wander and take in the scenery of our beautiful hillsides at every angle. We love to have residents of aged care facilities come and meander the garden or just sit in the gazebo and look over the garden area. It is a personal favourite of ours just to take in the scenery!

Our summers are extremely hot reaching day temperatures on a regular basis of 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) and our winters are generally quite cold, with day temps around 10 degrees Celsius or 50 degrees Fahrenheit. With overnights 5 and below usually hovering around 2 and below Celsius.

Mel’s love of alstroemeria (Peruvian Lily) are a huge addiction. These vibrant easy to grow drought hardy plants are a wonderful addition to blend with the iris. They have long lived flowers in a multitude of colours which blend with the iris beautifully. Their growing requirements are much like the iris requirements! Our gardens are mulched before spring to prevent the soil drying and becoming like concrete to dig in throughout summer.  

We tend to love the old fashioned English Gardens with Roses galore lots of perennials planted in no particular order. We live on top of a hill and tend to get lots of wind, but the price we pay are for the views of the country side which are amazing! 

Roses feature predominantly along with Salvia,  Australian Natives, Lavenders, Granny Bonnets, oh and the multitude of bulbs. Calla Lillies, Tulips, Dutch Iris, Reticulata Iris, Daffodil, Hyacinth, Liliums, Nerines and Freesia. To finish off our glorious spring colour palette our plantings consist of heavenly scented Double Stock, beautiful Petunia and Pansies, Larkspur and the odd Hollyhock.

Sunrise is a particular favourite time of day for us. The views are magical and we love our garden. We would love to hear what grows in your garden?