Ranunculus - A Favorite (Or: Do You Like Butter?)

Ranunculus is a favorite of mine.  This will be my 3rd year growing this fluffy, many-petaled flower.   What’s to love?  It’s one of the first flowers to bloom that we cultivate, shining bright in April.  It is big, fluffy, and colorful; beautiful when petals are tight, but even better when blown open, black center showing.  It has an amazing vase life, upwards of 2 weeks.

IMG_0507.jpg

These are the obvious reasons to love it.  But did you know that the genus ranunculus includes the common buttercup?  The big, blousy cultivated varieties are Ranunculus asiaticus, but the old, run-of-the mill yellow buttercups found wild in fields here in the mid Atlantic are also ranunculus, Ranunculus acris.  There are 500 species of ranunculus, but isn’t it fascinating that the cut flower beauty is related to the buttercup?

IMG_0463.jpg

Another reason that I love it is that (like most of flower farming) there is an irony in cultivating its beauty.  It’s grown by a most ugly corm that we acquire dried, shriveled, and brown.  We soak it until it gets plump and fat and then sprout it in a dark basement until green emerges.  All of this brown, cold, ugliness to produce a most exquisite bloom.  There is a lot of not so beautiful that one would not expect as we tread through a year on a flower farm and this process of growing ranunculus encapsulates the grit involved in growing flowers overall (I know, hard to believe, right?).

This year we will have ranunculus in April if all goes well.  We’ll fight the voles to keep the fleshy corms in tact under our greenhouse soil, and if it goes according to plan we’ll have buckets of the most gorgeous blooms come spring.  I really can’t wait.

Photo credit:  Mary Brunst Photography

Photo credit:  Mary Brunst Photography

Until Spring!  xoxo  ~Jackie