The Louisiana Iris Suite
Images and reflections by Dick Sloan

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'Henry Rowlan' vs. 'Black Gamecock'. Frank Chowning's 'Black Gamecock' is perhaps the most widely distributed Louisiana, sold as often by water plant nurseries and mass marketers such as Walmart and Lowe's. It is a rather small statured very dark, very vigorous, hardy Louisiana. As mentioned in the discussion about 'Finders Keepers', Frank was working for a black iris. 'Black Gamecock', 1978, is as dark as they get. 'Henry Rowlan', Mr. Faith's new introduction, seems a larger flowered, taller plant, with similar color and signal. It may never achieve the distribution of the earlier variety, but certainly is worth attention. When both bloomed, I placed a flower of 'Black Gamecock' on another iris stalk, next to 'Henry Rowlan' for comparison. The two are probably actually closer in diameter than the picture shows. 'Black Gamecock' is on the left.

   'Faubourg-Saint John' is a 2001 registration by Pat O'Connor of Metarie, LA, near New Orleans. This is a bloom on a first year plant, and though very fine, it will probably improve as the plant establishes itself. Marie Caillet, our Society for Louisianas' "treasure", never judges first year blooms. This iris has a creped texture and very fancy appendeges to the style arms. It's an elegant bloom.
 'Feliciana Hills' is a Pat O'Connor registration from 1987. We are still edging toward true pink in Louisiana irises, whereas bearded irises reached true pink, probably with a genetic mutation, around the time of WWII. This flower assumes a more dusty coloring in the sun but is still a lovely thing.

 'Emory Smith'
Pat O'Connor, 1999.

'Bill Neil' is a 1993 registration by Kirk Strawn, of College Station, Texas. Strawn is better known to water gardeners for his water lilies than to iris growers for his irises. Though he registered about 50 iris cultivars during the 1990's, they have not received wide distribution. They have been listed by few commercial gardens but this does not indicate that they are inferior. 'Bill Neil' is the only one of his I grow. It has much larger than average flowers in a rich glowing shade. The Strawns are an elderly couple, and did not respond to a letter from me earlier this year asking to buy another iris. I later learned he introduces/introduced through other growers. They have attended several of the SLI conventions in Lafayette.

The Louisiana Iris Suite Index
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