August 2, 2020 New Orleans, La.
Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative's summer iris rescue project has have come to an end with the a volunteer event being held on August 2, 2020 to plant irises in the last of the empty containers at the LICI's iris holding area. During four events held since June, over 4,500 irises were rescued from a tract of land located just outside of New Orleans that is zoned and permitted for commercial development and is for sale. 500 irises were donated by individuals that have taken irises from the swamp and planted them onto their property. An additional 1,000 irises were collected from sites where LICI has planted irises in the past to thin out for its projects. All of the irises are the species I. giganticaerulea of the Louisiana iris, which is the iris found growing in the fresh water swamps and marshes of southeast Louisiana.
The landowner of the property where the 4,500 were rescued has given LICI permission to remove the irises before the land is sold and developed. A portion of the property is leased to a company that sets up a fireworks stand twice a year. LICI was notified by the company that they were going to expand the parking area, so a concentrated effort was put on, starting in June, to get the irises out.
Photo: Wild I. giganticaerulea irises being dug up in late July during the last iris rescue event of the summer.
Construction of the LICI's iris holding area started in June, 2020 when irises were planted from the first iris rescue event held on June 12th.
Photo: The first irises being planted at the new LICI iris holding area on June 12, 2020.
The purpose of the iris holding area is to give irises that have been dug up as they begin their summer dormant period at chance to strengthening up for a few months before being transplanted during this fall and winter to their permanent homes in area refuges and nature preserves. Also, the irises growing in these containers will form clumps, which are better to plant in the semi-liquid muck found in many of the areas they will be going into instead of individually.
Photo: The last irises of the summer iris rescue project are seen being planted at the LICI iris holding area on August 2, 2020.
The irises should be ready to start being planted in the marsh by late October. If enough volunteers can be found, the hope is that 6,000 irises will be planted by early December so that more irises can be brought in to the iris holding area for planting out in the marshes in mid-January.