The cold weather recently and the continued rain may bring on a case of the winter blues. We’ve dosed ourselves up with thoughts of spring in the form of bunches of ravishing ranunculus in multiple shades. We planted ours in pots undercover in the autumn but the combination of a mild autumn and winter and a large root system means we’ve had to plant them out just when the temperatures dipped. Hence the appearance of cloches around the Not so Secret Garden to protect them until they get used to their new home.
Originally from central Asia ranunculus grows in the wild in swampy areas. This may be something to do with the origins of its name – ranunculus means frog in Latin. However, in the garden they are happier in a sunny spot in well-drained soil. A raised bed is ideal. They don’t do well in warm, wet conditions. Ideally plant them in the cool of autumn, with the tuber’s claw pointed side down and apply a mulch. Treat them as annuals, rather than perennials. Pull them out and compost them after cutting or leavethe tubers in the soil to rot in the moist warm summer soils.
As cut flowers they last in the vase for about a week after cutting. Cut them when flowers first show colour, in the early morning after they have had the night to recharge themselves with moisture
In the language of flowers the ranunculus symbolises charm. Many a Victorian lady would have been happy to receive a bunch telling her that she had many charms and they are still guaranteed to make people.
We’ll see how ours cope with a midwinter transplanting and, in the longer term, with the warmer, wetter weather. Growing cut flowers has its share of experimentation and risk taking. It’s been a voyage of discovery. Seeing spring bulbs and roses flowering at the same time has been astonishing.