The Louisiana Rainbow Festival
By LMG Calla Victoria
The Louisiana irises are once again in bloom, and public gardens all over New Orleans will be hosting iris walks so that we can enjoy the whimsical beauty of these delicate flowers in all of their splendid hues. I think that one of the best features of growing irises is that you cannot over-water them. These little cuties just love wet feet so you find them in the swamps, and happily growing on the sides of ponds. Many growers place them is deep plastic troughs that are filled with water and have no drain holes, and the irises simply grow and multiply. Patrick O’Connor, the former president of Greater New Orleans Iris Society, spearheads the Louisiana iris propagation operation for the society growing troughs of irises on Scout Island in City Park. Those Louisiana irises are grown and maintained for donations to public gardens. Patrick and Eileen Hollander donated many Louisiana irises to my project, the Open-Air Levee Exhibition and Rain Garden. Not only did they donate the plant material but they also installed the plant material.
Another attribute of irises is they multiply all by themselves; a few irises will become a field of irises in a few years. Periodically you will need to divide them, and yay…more irises.
This weekend the Greater New Orleans Iris Society will be hosting the Louisiana Rainbow Festival in City Park from noon until 5:00 p.m. The two-part festival starts with an iris walk through the iris garden at the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden in City Park. This lovely garden is maintained by members of Master Gardeners of New Orleans (MGGNO), under the supervision of my sister Master Gardener and president of the Greater New Orleans Iris Society, Eileen Hollander. She works tirelessly year around promoting and educating the general public on Louisiana irises. After the iris walk, there will be an iris show and sale at the New Orleans Museum of Art Courtyard (on the Sculpture Garden side.
If you love irises or have questions about the growth and care of these cuties, make it a point to be in that number, because a team of Louisiana iris experts will be on hand to give you valuable information and to answer all of your questions.
This article was published in Data News Weekly on April 8, 2016.
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Remember, never get too busy to wake up and smell the beautiful flowers!