Longue Vue’s Wild Garden contains the “oldest consistently maintained Louisiana iris collection in the greater New Orleans area” as published by the Society of Louisiana Irises in 2012. Ellen Shipman’s plans for the Iris Path are dated September 1939, naming a wish list of irises for Edith to source.  Planting began soon thereafter in her custom troughs, which were built to mimic the Louisiana swamp, and are in-tact today.

Louisiana conservationist Caroline Dormon, a forerunner in the yet to be developed field of ecology, a great friend to Edith, was employed by the Stern family in 1947 to steward Longue Vue’s extensive native plant and Louisiana iris collections.Dorman was a Louisiana iris hybridizer, writer, artist, botanist, and the first female employee of the U.S. Forestry Service.

The Dormon-hybridized Louisiana irises which remain in Longue Vue’s collection are Wheel Horse, Violet Ray, and The Kahn.

Dorman labored to win public interest in the dwindling wild iris population for most of her life, and fought to save the long leaf pine by establishing Kisatchie National Forest, which was perhaps her greatest contribution to conservation. Her home is open to the public: Briarwood

The hurricane Katrina levee failure flooded the Wild Garden in 2005, which resulted in over 70% loss of the iris collection. Funding and plant material was received from the Garden Conservancy, The Greater New Orleans Iris Society, Plantation Point Nursery and countless national and local horticulture enthusiasts!

Longue Vue’s current iris collection contains over 3,500 plants in custom troughs flanking each side of a winding 85 yard path designed by Shipman to evoke a pirogue moving through the swamp.

The collection includes all five of the Louisiana iris species (which are found in the wild), multiples of 130 named historic and contemporary hybrid cultivars and uncountable naturally-occurring hybrids.

Each spring since 2009, Longue Vue has held Louisiana Iris Day, sponsored by the Greater New Orleans Iris Society to celebrate the bloom. 2024 Iris Day is April 2nd,  4-6PM

The ‘Longue Vue’ iris was developed in 1999 by Dormon Ray Hamon.

Zydeco Irises




Amy Graham

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