Today is a quick share – I have been in London for the day at a party to say farewell to the daughter of a friend who is off to spend a year in Australia. As she is leaving soon flowers would not have made a good present – a pretty notebook to record her travels seemed like a better idea. Flowers were a good present, however, for the party hostess and yesterday the market flower stall was full of my favourite pink ranunculus.
Ranunculus have very delicate stems and heavy heads so need careful treatment. My first job yesterday was to condition them – I removed all the foliage, recut the stems and left them overnight in a jug of cool water and flower food. Conditioning encourages the flowers to take in as much moisture as possible. The better hydrated the stems are, the longer a cut flower will last.
As you can see the ranunculus looked very fresh and upright this morning.
Just before starting to photograph the ranunculus I took my dogs for a wander around the garden. Whilst outside I noticed that a flower from camellia Debbie had fallen to the ground and that a few muscari had been knocked over by Nelson. I collected these up and added them to my display. I used an old french cup and saucer and some old linen and lace, also from France, to set off the flowers I found in the garden.
I have been doing a bit of research into the best way to grow ranunculus, as I would love to be able to use my own stems from the garden. Ranunculus are grown from corms, which are available to buy in the autumn and early spring. I am trying them for the first time this year and planted some in pots last autumn. These have sat on the greenhouse staging all winter and I planted another batch in the greenhouse bed in early February. It is a good idea to soak the corms for a few hours before planting them.
The corms planted in pots last autumn have produced a lot of foliage, whilst the corms in the greenhouse bed have only just started to sprout. Ranunculus corms are quite small and I think I may have planted too many to a pot in the autumn as the foliage now seems very cramped. Each corm seems to produce quite a substantial plant. If my plants do not flower soon the temperatures may get too high in the greenhouse for them to be successful.
My research suggests that the best way to grow ranunculus is to plant them outside in the autumn and then cover the plants with a fleece tunnel for the winter. This should produce hardy plants that will have strong flowers. They can also be grown in polytunnels (I think these are called hoop houses in America), but I do not have one of these. In the autumn I am planning to try a row outside under a protective cover.
In the meantime I will keep my fingers crossed for some success from my greenhouse specimens and buy what I can from the market.
I hope you have enjoyed the ranunculus tonight and tomorrow I will be back with flowers from my garden for “In A Vase On Monday”.