The Louisiana Iris Suite
Images and reflections by Dick Sloan

From Australia

Click images to enlarge

'Peaches in Wine', above, is my favorite Pryor iris of those I've been growing. I saw their 'Venus Vortex' at the Dallas iris show this spring, and it is a must have. It has veining to a degree that makes a distinct and attractive flower variation. 'Peaches in Wine' is a 1997 iris. In the picture the peach standards are not peach color. We say standards for these petals, borrowing from the tall bearded flower part names. Few Louisiana blooms keep their standard petals erect after the first blush of flower life. The flower is a little more red than in reality and my culture or location produces less peach and more red than I have seen in the flower in other gardens. It is an excellent grower with many blooms.

The Pryors, Heather and Bernard, of Sydney, Australia, have a major commercial garden, introducting their own numerous registrations and those of Janet Hutchison, of whom more later. 'Charlotte's Tutu', left, is a Pryor iris, a 1994 registration. Note that it has signals on all petals. This trait is not universal. I associate the round flower form with Pryor irises. As pictured, the color is beautiful, but later in the day here, under my culture, it fades to an unattractive grayed tone. I am not sure of the cause, but probably will not keep the plant for that reason. Others of their plants do not do this for me.

'Catwalk Idol' is a beautiful flower, a Pryor 1997 registration. Here it has proved a slow increaser, and I have been asked to send a plant this fall to the person from whom I obtained it, in southwest Louisiana, as he had lost his plant. Louisianas are not usually slow to increase, far from it. So is the problem limited to two gardens? I will move it to a different location this fall and see the results. Note the halo around the petal edges -- a relatively new emphasis for a different look to blooms.

I imported five irises from the Pryors this March. They came from fall in Australia to early spring here. After a month in pots, the roots showed at the drainage holes and they were placed in the ground and should bloom next spring. The cost of the plants was doubled by the inspection fees and shipping charges, so this is not a practical way to obtain small numbers of irises. Commercial growers dilute the non-plant costs by larger orders and they become available to American buyers in a few seasons. Further, the plants I imported reeked of the materials used to fumigate them and one is advised
to use rubber gloves in potting them. After about 10 days, they are no longer hazardous to your health.

'Richard's Pink' is an Australian iris from Janet Hutchison, registered in 1995. Her irises are introduced by the Pryors. She must be a fascinating person. Her other hobby is rescue and release of flying foxes. Flying foxes are large for bats, eat fruit and congregate in the light on trees. They have been considered a pest because of their diet, but their pictures (available on the "Flying Foxes in Australia" website) show appealing creatures, whose faces resemble foxes or dogs. Apparently the young - there are four kinds as I understand it -- are much like young children, bumbling around, and in their case flying into things, the crashes sometimes resulting in injuries, in additon to encounters with cars, etc. It would be a most interesting avocation.

'Dural White Butterfly', a 1989 introduction from Taylor of Australia, is my favorite white, with clear color and excellent form. Some complain that its form and substance doesn't hold as long as others, but here it is fine. Taylor has produced a number of top-notch whites. Another is 'Obvious Heir', 1991, the name perhaps to indicate a worthy successor to the 1989 iris. Later, and just great, is 'Impassioned', 1995. This has a very green center against the white and has almost plate-shaped, full and round flowers with enough ruffling to make a super looking flower. I am eager to obtain it.


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