Curator discusses latest Briarwood preservation happenings in newsletter


Dear Friends,

It’s hard to believe it’s summer in Louisiana, not complaining by any means, and praying the moderate temperatures and rain continue in October.

Memorial day turned into “labor week” for us this year as we had at least 10 large trees blown down by the strong winds that whipped through the area. Of course, many of those same trees just had to fall across roads and trails, which necessitated immediate removal, taking time away from weeding the Iris Garden. I’m sure you all know what happens when you turn your back on weeds… they spread in profusion! However, after several days of diligent pulling, we managed to get back on top of that situation and with all the TLC, the iris should reward us with a beautiful show next year.

This summer’s blooms were gorgeous. The Wild Flower Meadow cloaked itself in golden yellow from the Sweet Cone Flower, Rudbeckia subtomentosa with the pale lavender of the Obedient Plants, Physostegia virginiana provides a lovely accent color. Now in the later part of summer, the show has been taken over by the various species of Goldenrod, Solidago providing a creamy golden yellow color while in the woods the Plumlead Azalea aka Red Azalea, Rhododendron prunifolium bloomed in profusion adding bright pops of red to the dappled shadows of the forest.

In addition to flowers, summer always provides a show with the wildlife. This is the time that fledgling bird have left the nest yet still rely on their parents for sustenance. It’s funny to watch a young bird the same size as its parents squawking and fluttering its wings, demanding food from the ever-harried parents! I watched a young Cardinal the other day carrying on demanding dad feed it, then as soon as dad went off to collect more food, the youngster began to eat corn chips for itself! Nighttime brings out the raccoon families with their brood foraging for food along the trails and frequently in the Iris Garden where they are looking for crawfish, and in doing so make quite a mess. To reduce this problem, we’ve found if you put some yellow mustard in the crawfish mound, they will leave and the raccoons will have nothing to dig for.

The ladies of the Louisiana Daughters of the American Revolution are raising funds for the construction of a gazebo, which will be placed where Caroline Dormon was born. To assist in their goal, contact your local DAR chapter or contact LSDAR Rebecca Stenzel at

Calendar of Events

  • Fall Tom Sawyer Day is Saturday, Oct. 28. Meet at the Education Building for coffee and refreshments at 9 a.m., then head out to do some work and lots of talking. At noon, there will be lunch and exploration of Briarwood.
  • The Annual Fall Plant Sale is Saturday, Nov. 4 from 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • The Annual Spring Picnic is Saturday, April 7, 2018. More information to be announced.


Sincerely, Rick Johnson