Monday, June 22, 2020

My Love/Hate Affair with Pseudatas

By Bryce Williamson

I had read about pseudatas in the Bulletin of The American Iris Society, but had not grown any. Then at the Region 14 Fall meeting in Chico, a poor, lovely plant of Tsukiyono was cryin' for a home and I thought, "Why not?" Having learned my lesson of buying things and then not planting them, I potted it up and then subjected it to neglect. In fact, at one point, I was certain that I had killed it.

Chad Harris wrote a post for The World of Irises post, "Iris ensata, Iris laevigata and Pseudata in Containers" and I had an attractive, empty clay pot and decided to try to salvage the variety. After three years, it rewarded me with bloom and I was thinking, "Three buds? I've wasted my time and water."

And then it keep blooming, blooming, and blooming some more.

That encouraged me last year to add more pseudatas to the container garden. Pseudatas are, as Chad Harris writes, “...a cross between plants with Iris pseudacorus backgrounds and Iris ensata (Japanese, Hanashobu). The iris world is very fortunate that Hiroshi Shimizu shared many years of his work finding a good pod parent (‘Gubijin’) so all hybridizers could explore the possibilities that this cross may bring to the garden."

Though I have a true Mediterranean garden--the soil goes dry during the summer between waterings--I am finding these irises have a definite place in the pageant color in the yard (or in this case pot) after bearded irises are finished. Give them a try. If you don't have a area in the garden that stays damp, you can grow a few in pots and use them as an accent on a patio or walk.

My thanks to Brock Heilman and Chad Harris for the theft of images!

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