Ungernia sewerzowii

Vlad Hempel via pbs pbs@lists.pacificbulbsociety.net
Tue, 29 Jun 2021 05:13:28 PDT
Thank you Lee, I appreciate your reply on this.
Before sending this email to everyone, I did see some entries from years back in our list. Nevertheless, I decided to write it. Why? Because I think this is a very special plant + a personal story for myself.
Let me tell you how I have stumbled upon it some months ago. My great-grandfather died many years ago, but his house in Moldova was only demolished this past spring. As my mom was going through what remained from his house, she found a picture of my great-grandfather as a young boy on a hill, next to a flower. He was born and raised in Kazakhstan, where Ungernia grows wild. The picture is from the late 19th century and it is marked with Дмитрий и Унгерния. So I started looking for this plant. He was, like my mom and I, a gardener and loved especially bulb plants and apple trees.
From what my mom told me, the climate in Taraz is very dry from mid June to September, with much milder winters than in the capital. The most rain, interestingly, is not in fall, but in spring, February to April.
I hope to be able to grow Ungernia one day.
Greetings from Berlin,(where it finally rained properly in the last 5 weeks!)
Vlad Hempel

    On Tuesday, June 29, 2021, 08:33:45 AM GMT+2, Lee Poulsen via pbs <pbs@lists.pacificbulbsociety.net> wrote:  
 I think I’m growing this as well as Ungernia minor. I have four tall pots (about 15in/40cm tall x 4 in/10cm x 4in/10cm square) filled with a gritty mix, with four still small plants after 15 years from seed. I ordered seed in the mid-2000s from Josef Halda for 4 or 5 years. They almost never germinated. But a few did in two of those years. Southern California is not like their native climate, but I decided to try them because there are several tulip species that come from similar areas that do very well here. I’m thinking our winters might resemble their springs, and our summers might be similar—warm-to-hot and dry. But we don’t get the subfreezing winters. Maybe they don’t need chilling hours like some of our temperate fruit varieties that originated in those areas do. I also can’t figure out the growing season. I put them out each early spring to get watered. Sometimes they leaf out. One did this year. Then I back off the water in the summer once it gets hot, then put them back where things get watered in the fall and the weather cools down. This is when they are most likely to leaf out. Three of them did last fall. I let them grow till early winter (Dec.) then I put them in a completely dry area but outside in the coldest part of the yard till early spring again. However, I have no idea what I’m doing, and they look like they’ll take forever to get to flowering size.

I haven’t seen a catalog of anything from Halda for a number of years. I suspect he’s older now and doesn’t go to Central Asia anymore on seed collecting expeditions. [Actually, is anyone taking the place of all the big seed collectors from the 1980s—2000s such as the Archibalds, or Flores and Watson, or Thad Howard?]

I found that Jim Waddick co-authored a book by Halda on the genus Paeonia. Maybe Jim knows what has become of Halda and if anyone has taken his place in collecting seeds in that area of the world. I haven’t seen anyone else ever offer seeds of Ungernia, but Halda sometimes offered as many as 6 different species or unpublished species from several different “-stan” countries and various altitudes from 3000 to 8000 ft (1000m - 2500m) a.s.l. if I recall correctly. He also offered quite the amazing variety of seeds from a wide variety of genera including bulb genera from mountainous areas from Central Asia all the way to the slopes of the Himalayas in China and southeast Asia. I dabbled in a few of the other genera but they either never germinated or only grew one season. I still haven’t figured out the annual temperature and rainfall patterns/cycles of that area of the world.

--Lee Poulsen
Pasadena, California, USA - USDA Zone 10a
Latitude 34°N, Altitude 1150 ft/350 m

> On Jun 26, 2021, at 1:24 PM, Vlad Hempel via pbs <pbs@lists.pacificbulbsociety.net> wrote:
> Dear all,
> I have stumbled upon this beauty some months ago, being absolutely
> fascinated by its growing habits and coloration.
> Does any of you grow it?
> Cheers from Berlin,
> Vlad
> (where it is still light at 10:30pm, dry and hopefully some rain early next
> week)
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