My wife and I attended the SLI Convention in Shreveport/Bossier City Area. They are on opposite sides of the Red River. I agreed to give a presentation to our iris society when we got back. Since I have all the photos processed and labeled where appropriate I thought I would post them on the Iris Forum. I'll give some narrative.
The convention was held April 20 through April 24.
A little recent history is in order. That area of Louisiana had very heavy rains in March and April. The morning after I made my hotel reservations for the Hilton Garden Inn in Bossier City, Bossier City made the national news because of it's severe flooding.
There were storms in the area the morning of the day we arrived. But everything was sunny when we touched down. This was the sunset the day we arrived.
This was our hotel. We stayed in the Homewood Suites-free breakfast and free beer at night.
These were taken on the day we left. I have since heard that they are back to "rain, rain, rain".
The first garden we toured was a private garden owned by Eric Newton and Ray Taylor. Eric is a Landscape Architect and Ray is a horticulturist. One of their passions is roses.
Their house was interesting. It dates back to the 1950's and was ordered from the Sears and Roebuck catalog.
It started out as a seasonal fish camp.
Their garden was beautiful and very neat and orderly.
It turn out that they bought 100 bales of pine straw from Lowes to mulch everything.
Being from California I was not familiar with pine straw.
Their other gardening passion is Japanese maples. They had 75 on their two acre property.
If you have Japanese maples, you should have a proper Japanese lantern.
They also had a number of other interesting plants on the property.
Dwarf Ginko bilobas.
A ground cover camellia.
Some more miscellaneous garden shots.
They did grow some Louisiana irises.
A few more garden shots. I never did figure out what picture I was taking when my wife took my photo.
Name: Teresa Felty Barrow South central KY (Zone 6b) Consider the lilies of the field
Well, that is odd. This morning Carl when I posted I hope flower pics would follow, I could only see the first picture. Thanks for sharing all those! I am not sure what your were taking a picture of either. It may have been a bird in the tree lol.
Beautiful gardens. Wish they had grown more LA's, but then I am partial to LA's. Love all the Japanese maples. They are taking great care of them. The lantern and maples remind me of the Asian gardens at Duke.
"The chimera is a one time happenstance event where the plant has a senior moment and forgets what it is doing." - Paul Black
The next garden was a mere 5 minutes away. If you have ever been to a garden convention, that is amazingly close.
Plantation Point Nursery is owned by Dr. Stan Schikowitz and his wife, Bobbie Hutchinson. Bobbie is a past president of the SLI.
Plantation Point Nursery used to be a youth summer camp for kids. It sat abandoned for ten years before they bought it. Their house sits where the dining hall/cook house was. They originally planned to renovate it but when they tore into it they realized it was beyond repair and they demolished it.
This is the view looking out the back towards Caddo Lake. Note the railings on the pier. In March the lake rose so much it covered the railings and also many of the iris on the lake side. They had to take the boat out of the boathouse or it would have been sunk or it would have destroyed the roof of the boathouse.
I went with a group and followed Stan as he gave a quick tour of the property.
First stop was their ponds. The lower pond has been stocked with catfish. The middle pond was used to grow fresh water prawns at first but now is used to grow crayfish. More on the crayfish pond later.
The next stop was the Orangerie, a Victorian style greenhouse. Bobby uses it to grow tomatoes and other vegetables in the winter. She said winter is the best time to can tomatoes.
Stan sat and talked about their plans for the place and also the damage they suffered from the flooding.
This water feature is almost done. They will be planting the steps in the summer.
The flood would have been bad enough just having covered the irises for over a week. Louisiana iris can live in water. When it is storming they are at the downwind end of the lake and tons of trash washed up and covered the iris. Other things floated away.
Iris had been planted right down to the lake.
This greenhouse was heavily damaged by the flood.
This was their collection of species iris. It was underwater most of the flood. Stan thought that he had lost his bloom for the year but society members went down and looked and there were lots of stalks forming, just a little late.
This is the smokehouse and the apiary is in the back yard behind the fence with the 'Bees at Work' sign.
Many of the other buildings like the bunk houses, the shower building and the maintenance buildings are still there. Some are lived in by workers and others are use for a variety of uses (one is set up as a tissue culture lab).
One is the coffee roaster. Stan is passionate about his coffee and sells to some of the high end restaurants in Shreveport. His brand is "Plantation Gourmet Coffee" and it is available online.
Another is where they cast stepping stones and garden art.
They have a large maintainence shop. It's a necessity to keep up a place that large.
Bobbie's brother, Ron Killingsworth, and his wife Sue also live and work on the property. This is their house.
This is the famous (OK, only locally-they did make the local paper) Mooringsport Ferry. When the lake flooded it cut off many people from town. Ron and another neighbor took their boats to the flooded spot on the road and ferried people across every morning and evening. One lady ran out of food after three days. Two guys went to town and brought back four cases of beer and a half a case of scotch. Everybody has their priorities.
Stan has lots of plans for the place. One of his newest is a Zen garden. The weather has created so many problems that have to be dealt with that no one has raked the Zen garden in a while.
They have a number of fruit trees on the property. They have them under bird netting.
Stan goes marching on.
This is the berry garden.
This was an experiment to try and sort the unknown iris by color. Not highly successful to say the least.
At last, some iris.
We broke for lunch a little late because the catering truck missed a turn and got stuck in the mud.
After lunch one of the young workers took us over to see the crayfish traps. He warned us to be very careful and to stay well away from the edge of the pond. The reason was Cottonmouth snakes. Very poisonous and very agressive. They will charge you. He said he kills a number of them everyday. They don't go to the catfish pond. There they are prey. We saw three cottonmouths and a diamond back water snakein the 15 minutes we were there.
This was a dead one we found in another area of the garden.
They also have turtles.
And of course, fire ants.
A few more garden shots before we get to some iris.
When they wanted to buy iris, they found out that Lone Star Nursery was closing. They bought all of the stock. Some of it was named and some was not. They kept the clumps separated and hoped to be able to identify them when they bloomed. We all know how that goes.
They also heard that Marie Calliet was digging out her iris pond. Beautiful iris, but unnamed. They brought them all back to plantation Point and planted them. They dig trenches and line them with black plastic and plant the iris in composted cotton gin waste. They use lake water to irrigate during the summer.
Because many of the irises started out as unknowns, many of my photos are of unknowns.
Worse, many have the wrong name.The tag in the second photo is between the two irises and neither is Bryce Leigh. http://wiki.irises.org/bin/vie...
There were a lot of barn swallows. It was almost impossible to take a landscape photos without getting one or two in the picture.
It looked like they left them alone because they did such a good job controlling the flying insects.
Every now and then you would see a bright flash of red from a cardinal. They are hard to get a picture of them. They never seem to sit still.
A pair of lovebirds.
My favorite decoy.
More garden shots.
Probably the most perfect magnolia blossom I have ever seen.
There were even a couple of tall bearded iris blooming.
I. virginica in blue and pink
What's a garden tour without at least one fungus foto?
Two last panoramas.
We are done for the day and it's back on the bus and back to the hotel.
Name: Bonnie Sojourner Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a) Magnolia zone
What a fantastic tour, Carl! Did you encounter a lot of mosquitoes? I deal with the fire ants and cottonmouths without the benefit of the beautiful irises. Thanks for posting the photos and no, the posts are never too long when they are engrossing.
Thro' all the tumult and the strife I hear the music ringing; It finds an echo in my soul— How can I keep from singing?
The second day of the tours took us to the Norton Art Gallery in Shreveport, LA. They dropped us off in front of the main entrance where we waited until they told us to go around back to the gardens. The Norton is a large brick building with several acres of gardens behind it. http://www.rwnaf.org/gardens/o...
They had beautiful brick walkways.
They have a number of sculptures placed in the garden. This was the first one we came to.
I told Marilyn that we had seen it before. It was at Butchart Gardens.
When I got back to he hotel room I looked at my slide show of the AIS convention in Victoria, BC.
Sure enough, there it was in Buttchart Gardens.
When I was putting together the program I tried looking up the name.
There it was. "Il Porcellini" in Florence Italy.
The way we went around the gardens took us next to Maple Hill.
This is one of the nicest garden boulders I have ever seen. About 2' x 2' x 4'.
The brick paths go on and on.
If you had a penny a brick you could have a nice meal anywhere.
Probably anywhere in the world.
Destiny of the Redman. A complex bronze sculpture.
The lighting was bad and these were the best shots of all the ones I took.
The pond where all the streams end.
Canyon Watch by Kent Ullberg
They then rousted us out of the garden and sent us into the gallery.
It was before opening and only part was open to us.
The first area we came to was the Children's Storybook area.
I thought the pig might be from a children's story like Charlotte's Web or some such.
When I looked it up on line I found that it was just a sculpture named 'Eat More Beef'.
I looked for a name for the two kids riding the alligator.
I didn't find a name, but I did find the same sculpture about twenty minutes from my house.
These are beehives in a little courtyard outside the Children's area.
They gave us little bear shaped sample bottles of the honey.
The Gallery had a nice collection. One room was western art with quite a number of pieces by Remington and Russell.
This was my favorite piece. It is a six or seven color lithograph by Alphonse Mucha.
This is his original style. People copied his style and it became known as art nouveau.
This is a quote from their website (http://www.briarwoodnp.org/):
"Briarwood is the birthplace and home of Caroline Dormon, a world renowned naturalist, author, artist and the first woman to be hired in the United States Forest Service.
The Caroline Dormon Nature Preserve strives to carry on the work started by Miss Dormon by preserving wildflowers native to the south and educating the public on how natural forest ecosystems work."
Caroline Dorman was also an important part of the early years of what would become the Society for Louisiana Iris. She introduced a number of Louisiana iris.
It was a long bus ride from the Norton Gallery to Briarwood, so the first order of business was lunch.
After lunch we were taken on a walking tour of the area.
Our docent was one of three generations working there.
His father and his son both work there.
The first thing of note was the meadow.
Caroline Dorman worked to preserve southern wildflowers
We were at the back of the group, taking pictures, so we missed out on the names of the wildflowers that were in bloom.
This is the site of the original Dorman family cabin.
They have dreams of someday rebuilding it.
Star Anise or Stinkbush
Caroline Dorman's cabin built in the early 1950's.
This is where she lived for much of her adult life.
Beautiful masonry work on the chimney.
It is holding up remarkably well.
Interior shots and some examples of her artwork.
This is a plate taken off the internet.
On with the walk.
Red Horse Chestnut
'Grandpappy' long leaf pine. Caroline Dorman realized that this was the biggest and oldest tree around and protected it.
In the 50's, foresters told her it was dying and it should be taken down. She said only over her dead body. At the time it was 37" in diameter. Today it is 39.5" in diameter. It is clearly still growing.
There was a road crew working nearby and Caroline talked them into building this pond.
Sometimes trees have to be removed for the good of the rest of the forest
Artist in Residence Cabin
She had this cabin built about 1/4 mile from her cabin.
The forest is so dense that it probably felt more like 4 miles.
We finally arrived at the bog area where Caroline Dorman grew her Louisiana iris.