It took several years, but the Louisiana Iris is finally in bloom. I think it would have bloomed last year, except for a little mishap with the spouse and the lawn mower. It was worth the wait. Big, velvety, dark purple flowers.
They’re maybe a little darker than the photos here show, but nowhere near as dark as some catalog photos (gee, do you think they enhance them at all?).
I haven’t been able to find out much about the origins of this iris, other than that it was registered in 1978 by Frank Chowning, who bred irises with increased hardiness in mind. Interestingly, he was a pal of Caroline Dormon, who was a pal of Elizabeth Lawrence.
We have a poorly drained area which is wet all winter, but does dry out during the summer. I planted ‘Black Gamecock’ there next to a tiny Atlantic White Cedar tree (Chamaecyparis thyoides) which is growing like a weed, so I’ll soon have to move the iris (I’m not moving the tree). Other purchased companions are Acorus gramineus ‘Ogon’ and Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata, started from seed). I’ve also been digging up some wild plants from the surrounding area and adding them to the same bed – Common Rush (Juncus effusus) and Maryland Meadow Beauty (Rhexia mariana). I started this bed with a very different idea in mind, but now I’m planning to keep it local by adding wild plants to create a sort of cultivated wild garden. The Louisiana Iris gets to stay, however.