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St. Joesph Abbey in Covington iris planting

Updated: Jun 17, 2020

December 20, 2020 Covington, La.


Part of Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative's (LICI) program to rescue native Louisiana species irises is to find locations where the irises can be moved so that they can be propagated and thinned out over the years to use for iris restoration projects in the marsh. Another example of one of these places is St. Joseph's Abbey in Covington, La.


St. Joseph Benedictine Abbey is a Benedictine monastery located in St. Benedict, Louisiana on the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain near Covington. The monks purchased the property and build the monastery in 1902 on 1,500 acres of a former plantation. Two large ponds were hand dug by the monks on what has become a native and wildlife preserve that comprises most of the property.

On December 18, 2020, Gary Salathe, with the Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative, organized an I. giganticaerulea Louisiana species iris planting at St. Joseph's Abbey. Volunteers with Common Ground Relief from from Buck-I-SERV Alternative Breaks at Ohio State University planted over 1,000 irises. The irises were dug up and rescued from a property earlier in the day by a group of volunteers, that included these students, from a tract of land that has plans for development. The irises that were planted added to the 1,000 planted there in May of 2019.

The irises were planted along the water’s edge of a pond found within the remote 1,500 acres of the monastery property. The irises will grow and multiple in their new home so that

they can be thinned out over the years to be used for marsh restoration projects in Southeast Louisiana. Photo: The ground condition along the pond shoreline was ideal

with about a 48" deep strip of soggy ground.


A video of the volunteer event can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaZ0TLOPPcc







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The Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative, Inc. is a Louisiana non-profit corporation that has been formed for the purpose of organizing Louisiana iris rescue and planting projects involving wild, native irises threatened with destruction.