|The2003 Society for Louisiana Irises Annual Meeting featured a bus trip to gardens in western Louisiana, well inland, near the border with Texas. First stop along the way was Lousiana Nursey, growers of daylilies and rare choice perennials. Unlike most of the nursery (top left) the water loving Lousiana iris were grown in pots, and thousands of pots were massed together (top right). In bloom were older cultivars of enduring quality (clockwise) like BLACK WIDOW and great newer introductions like Ron Betzer's HONEY GALORE and Dormon Haymon's regal LONGUE VUE.|
|The bus drove an hour north to Alexandria then another hour west toward the giant reservoirs located near the Texas border. The landscape changed from open to pineywoods. The bus went miles down dirt roads through cleared land and finally down a long driveway to a peninsula on the edge of a lake (top left). The beautiful home of Julian Wells and Larry Anaya is located on high ground in the center of the peninsula. Along the lake the conventioneers examined the iris beds which stretched away toward a tiny island accessible by a foot bridge. Iris in bloom included (continuing clockwise) Heather Pryor's aptly named contrasting bicolor PEACHES IN WINE and Charles Arny's timeless 1979 pastel bicolor introduction EASTERTIDE|
|The bus trip continued south through farmland, small towns, past a parade down a Main Street in one town, before reachin the larger "paper mill town" of DeRidder. A turn off the main highway took us to the Copenhaver Garden, a farm that has over decades been converted into paradise for Louisiana Iris, daylilies, bamboo, and many other perennials. Louisiana Iris naturalize alongside a barn which is now a working ceramics studio (top left) and extend around a closeby pond (top right) Walkways through the property lead to other ponds (right). Louisiana iris are planted alongside the paths in clearings that receive sufficient sun. As we boarded the bus to leave, a neighbor stopped his truck and told all of us that we should plan to return in a few weeks when the daylilies are in bloom.||
Louisiana iris growing alongside one of the many ponds.