January 3, 2021 Lockport, La.
The Lockport Elevated Wetlands Board Walk has been added to the list of boardwalks and trails in southeast and south-central Louisiana where the Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative (LICI) is doing iris planting projects. A local group of iris enthusiasts asked LICI to consider planting irises along the boardwalk, and after receiving permission from the landowner and the town, the project was initiated.
In three separate volunteer planting events held during December and January hundreds of the Louisiana Iris species I. giganticaerulea iris were planted. The iris is known locally as the "Giant Blue" iris.
Photo on left: A trailer full of irises arrives for the first planting, which was done on December 16, 2020.
On the second iris planting, held on December 23, 2020, the crew made a very interesting discovery when they spotted a rather large, naturally occurring stand of Louisiana irises, also likely the Giant Blue iris, in a small clearing some distance from the boardwalk. The irises were pretty far out in the swamp from the boardwalk and the view out to them was partially blocked by small trees and some vines. This prompted them to clear a path to vegetation, mostly low hanging branches, dead limbs, and damaged and unhealthy saplings, to allow a better view of the irises from the boardwalk.
Some of the irises along the edges of the clump were growing in deep shade and are competing with tree roots. Those plants may be dug up in the future and moved closer to the boardwalk in an open area to get them into a more productive spot and for better viewing by visitors.
Photo Above: The large clump of irises that was discovered
by the volunteers growing almost out of sight from the
Photo on left: Because the boardwalk was so far above the swamp an extension ladder had to be used for the volunteers to access the planting area.
One goal of the second planting planting was to get some irises out near an open area of the swamp at the end of the boardwalk.
During the third planting held on January 2, 2021 the group worked on relocating some of the irises in the large existing clump of irises that was found during the second planting at the boardwalk. Irises that we in locations where they were competing with tree roots were moved to locations with more sunlight and less competition. Additional limbs and some smaller trees were also cut to put the clump better into view from the boardwalk.
Photo on right: Irises being planted by LICI volunteer, Mike Glaspell, during the first iris planting at the Lockport boardwalk.
Gary Salathe, with LICI, said, "We'd like to thank the landowner, Hugh Caffery, for granting us permission to plant the irises. Also 'thanks' goes out to Lafourche Parish Councilman, Armand Autin, and the Lafourche Parish government employees who assisted with the coordination of this project. All were excited to have the irises added to the boardwalk area and are encouraging us to continue the plantings."