Annual Gardening Symposium | LSU Hilltop Arboretum

Irises’ Tale of Conservation and Adaptation

Saturday, January 28, 2023
8:30am - 1:00pm
Featuring: Patrick O'Connor, Charles Perilloux, and Dana Nunez Brown
Sponsored by the Arlene Kestner Educational Fund

iris watercolorEBRP Main Branch Library Conference Room
7711 Goodwood Blvd
Baton Rouge, LA 70806

Registration Fee

Early Bird pricing through January 15, 2023:

$50 for Members/$65 Non-Members/$25 Students
Free for Members Cypress Level ($500) and above. Please register so we know you're attending.
CEU’s for master gardeners and landscape architects!

After January 15th, ticket prices are: $60 for Members/$75 Non-Members/$35 Students


Louisiana irises are a critical part of Louisiana natural heritage that have been greatly impacted by land use and climate change. During this symposium, iris experts, Patrick O’Connor and Charles Perilloux, will discuss iris species found in Louisiana, their discovery, natural history, and how iris distribution has changed over time - weaving in stories of human-plant interactions. They will also discuss the future of irises and what is needed for their conservation and adaptation. Expanding on her book, Using Plants for Stormwater Management, architect Dana Nunez Brown will focus on how irises and other species provide important ecosystem services and can be critical plants for stormwater management. After presentations from the speakers, an interactive panel discussion will be open to questions from attendees. 


Dana Nunez Brown profileDana Nunez Brown has 43 years of experience as a landscape architect and planner, managing large projects with construction budgets over $30 million as well as small park projects with construction budgets as low as $100,000. Dana holds a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree from Louisiana State University and Master of Landscape Architecture degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She is a licensed Landscape Architect in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas, a LEED Accredited Professional, a Certified Planner with the American Institute of Certified Planners, and a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects. Dana’s work in Louisiana focuses on urban design, park design, stormwater management, and community engagement. She has been complimented by officials of New Orleans, Gretna, Hammond, Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Lake Charles, Houma, and others for her authentic interaction with stakeholders and members of the public. Dana pioneered stormwater management in Louisiana beginning in 2004, writing new ordinances that require developers to implement green infrastructure.

As President of Dana Brown & Associates, she pioneered design of green infrastructure throughout Louisiana. Dana is a licensed trainer for the National Green Infrastructure Certification Program (NGICP) and a founding member of Water Wise Gulf South, which trains and educates residents in implementing green infrastructure in their neighborhoods. She is the author of “Using Plants for Stormwater Management: A Green Infrastructure Guide for the Gulf South,” LSU Press, April 2014.

Patrick O'Connor profilePatrick O’Connor has a broad interest in plants native to Louisiana and the Gulf South with an emphasis on Louisiana irises and ferns. He has registered around 120 Louisiana iris hybrids with the American Iris Society. Patrick has twice won the Society’s Mary Swords DeBaillon Medal, the highest award given to a Louisiana iris cultivar, for his hybrids ‘Deja Voodoo’ (2018) and ‘When Pigs Fly’ (2021). He is past president and charter member of the Greater New Orleans Iris Society, past officer and board member of the Society for Louisiana Irises, and former board member of the Louisiana Native Plant Society. Patrick is active in the Louisiana Iris Species Preservation Project sponsored by both the Society for Louisiana Irises and the Greater New Orleans Iris Society. For ten years, ending in 2013, Patrick operated an online commercial nursery selling Louisiana irises called Zydeco Louisiana Iris Garden. Patrick retired from the LSU Health Science Center where his principal work was in the administration of Louisiana’s public hospital system. He has a Ph.D. in Political Science from Indiana University.

Charles Perilloux in iris fieldCharles Perilloux is a retired chemical engineer passionate about conservation of native species of iris. Born in Lafayette, Louisiana, Charles earned a B.S. and Ph.D. in chemical engineering at LSU and Rice University, respectively. He worked for DuPont chemical company (Nylon, Kevlar, Teflon, Nomex) during which time he traveled extensively in Europe, Singapore, and China. Charles also worked as a part-time consultant in the abatement of greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide, in Texas and China. Since retiring in 2013, Charles has been active in the iris community. Charles is one of five stewards of the Louisiana Iris Species Preservation Project with others based out of New Orleans, LA, Savannah, GA, Houston, TX, and Chattanooga, TN. He is also active in planning and zoning issues related to the preservation of the historic Highland Road. Charles has been married to his wife and landscape architect, Kathleen Mills, for 56 years.


 Registration Details

Registration Deadline is Thursday, January 26, 2023


Early Bird pricing through
January 15, 2023

$50 for Members
$65 Non-Members
$25 Students
Free for Members Cypress Level ($500) and above. Please register so we know you are attending.

After January 15th, ticket prices:
$60 for Members
$75 Non-Members
$35 Students

 Questions? Call 225-767-6916 or email