Gardening Magazine

Surprise, Y'all

By Gardenamateur

Well, I didn't expect to see this sight when I wandered out the back door this morning. Louisiana iris in bloom! So early – they were just furled blue flags only yesterday and already they're fully out, gorgeous big blue and yellow carnivals of color saying "hi y'all" to the world.

Surprise, y'all

And there's a third one on the way, probably bursting
out of its frock by early this afternoon.

Surprise, y'all

This blue is the classic Louisiana iris, and this cultivar
is called 'Gulf Shores'.

Surprise, y'all

One little-known fact about Louisiana iris is that
Australian breeders have become so successful at
developing new colours that we are now exporting
Louisiana iris to other countries, including the USA!

Surprise, y'all

Now, the spot where my Louisiana iris lives is in the
middle of Paul's pond. (Well, I think this is Paul.
Three years ago I had four goldfish: John, Paul,
George and Ringo. Poor old Ringo was the first
to go to goldfish heaven, and as the others sank
by the wayside I lost track of who was who. So I
think this is Paul, but I'm not certain. The 
wire is 
an unfortunately necessary anti-pussy-cat security
measure) Anyway, back to the iris. That's its pot
on the top right of this photo. It sits in the water,
with the iris rhizome just at or above the waterline.

Surprise, y'all

I wondered what Paul's view of the iris would be,
and I think it's something like this. Very pleasant!

The other good news about Louisiana iris is that they're easy enough to grow. They're a pond plant, either in the pond in a pot, or by the edge of a natural pond in a damp spot. Mine's in a pot stuffed with cow poo and compost and it grows and spreads vigorously. Though this is just a guess, I suspect it'd spread like mad if it liked the spot it was planted in the ground pondside.

A lovely woman who's an iris-growing specialist told me at a garden show that Lousiana iris are "the teenage boys of the plant world – it's almost impossible to over-feed them" and so I've been diligent about keeping up the supply of slow-release fertiliser to them. I use slow-release pellets for azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons, as the iris like soils and life in general to have an acid tinge, as do azaleas etc. Not sure if it's the right food for them, but it seems to work OK.

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