MANDEVILLE, La. (WGNO) — Once a year, for about a month, they’re still standing.

Still tall.

Still elegant.

Because they used to grow just about anywhere in Louisiana, in swamps, marshes, and mostly in ditches, they used to call them “ditch lilies”.

WGNO Good Morning New Orleans features reporter Bill Wood says the ditch lily is the iris.

Garay Salathe is a retired home builder.

Now, he’s building a comeback for the iris.

Gary says, “When you see that plant blooming in the swamp and you realize that it’s a native plant, it’s not in any way been affected by humans to create it. It’s something special to see.”

Gary and Josh Benitez lead a group of volunteers who think hard and dig deep to keep their favorite flower blooming.

Their mission is to rescue and relocate them.

They move them away from developers with no desire to let a little iris stop big-time, big-money construction.

The iris initiative was planted back in the 1930s with the first Louisiana Iris Society. Now, in places like Northlake Nature Center in Mandeville, a garden grows.

It’s a garden with a boardwalk built so folks can safely step out and take it all in.

The team with a green thumb is in it to win it.

So far, not been a bad season for Louisiana’s little, ole ditch lily.