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Hybridizer Ida Mary Pattison (Mrs. Douglas) 1884-1968

Freeport, Illinois

From The Bulletin of the American Iris Society, No. 190(July 1968): Ida Mary Pattison (or Mrs. Douglas Pattison as she liked to be called) was born February 2, 1884, and passed away March 21, 1968. She was a charter member of the American Iris Society, and was instrumental with others in forming our Society. She was an outstanding and important authority on irises, their culture and development in the early days, and it was her greatest interest to the end of her life. Memories of our dear friend go back to the middle twenties when we drove out to see her in her lovely garden in Freeport, Ill. These visits continued in Sherman Oaks and Corona del Mar, Calif., up to recent years. I remember a time when VENUS DE MILO and CINCINNATI were contending for the title of best white. To me they were identical in her garden. I took a flower from one clump of each to her house and asked if she could name them. This she did without hesitation. Later I learned that if there was a dispute as to quality or identity of an iris at any show where Mrs. Pattison was judging, someone would say, "Ask Mrs. Pattison; she is here and can tell us!"

Mrs. Pattison was always very pleased to give helpful information to the beginner, and generous with her time and gifts of plants. On one of our early visits with her, she told us of her travels in Europe with her husband, and how she had brought back DOMINION to this country, the first of the tetraploid irises, which, of course, is in the blood of about all of our modern irises. In Paris she was asked to be a judge in an international flower show. After the death of her husband, she decided to grow irises professionally. One of the many customers and admirers of her irises was Haile Selassie, Emperor of Abyssinia, who always wrote her enthusiastically about these irises. She also shipped irises to the Countess Senni in Italy. We never failed to see her frequently in the years since 1947, and had an annual date to celebrate her birthday. During this time we would show slides taken in gardens and at conventions she had not been able to attend. Nothing pleased her more than to talk about irises, and discuss old and new varieties.

One of her best irises was her WHITE PEACOCK, which won the Franklin Cook Memorial Cup in 1956. Her PINK ACCENT was a very sturdy white ground plicata with fine bloom and branching. Several irises were named after her in various forms of her name. One in particular, MRS. DOUGLAS PATTISON, is still grown, as it has stood the test of time as a fine and vigorous light to medium blue. Her catalogs were always accurate in describing the irises she grew in her "Quality Gardens." The best irises of her day were introduced by Mrs. Pattison, and many of them obtained awards. She will be greatly missed in the iris world as one of the all-time greats. —MR. and MRS. RICHARD GOODMAN


Tall Bearded: 'Azure Skies', 'Bronze Symphony', 'Golden Lancer', 'Pink Accent', 'Purple Band', 'White Peacock'.

-- Main.RPries - 2012-05-18
Topic revision: r5 - 09 Dec 2017, davepote
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