Ranunculus, ranunculi…

Last summer, I had a real treat, courtesy of ‘Abebooks’.  Abebooks is a brilliant site for secondhand books, and is my first port of call when I want to buy anything that isn’t hot off the press.  I bought 2 Dan Pearson books and really enjoyed them both. In ‘Home Ground: Sanctuary in the City’ there was a short piece on Ranunculus ficaria ‘Brazen Hussy’. I love the ordinary celandine, Ranunculus ficaria, and there is a spot in the garden, normally hard-baked in the summer, which is positively wet in the spring. We get a lot of rain late winter and in the spring, and there is a dip in the ground where water collects and also, probably because of a kink in the old roof, rain comes down from the roof in a spout. So it is really damp, and the native celandines pop up in a matter of weeks ít seems.

Dan Pearson caught my attention with ‘Brazen Hussy’. A great name for a sport spotted by Christopher Lloyd in his garden at Great Dixter, and being a man for bold names, ‘Brazen Hussy’ was what he chose.

Ranunculus ficaria 'Brazen Hussy' Feb 2015
Ranunculus ficaria ‘Brazen Hussy’ Feb 2015
Ranunculus ficaria Feb 2015
Ranunculus ficaria Feb 2015

So there they both are.  ‘Brazen Hussy’ is a dark bronze-leaved variety with glowing yellow petals and quite big flowers- the yellow is almost blinding and for a small plant, it really packs a punch.  I could only find this at a couple of French online nurseries at a serious price, so I bought just three small plants last autumn, and dug them in near to the house, so I wouldn’t have to go hunting for them. For a lot of the winter, they looked very soggy and unprepossessing, and then, despite our biblical rain, they responded immediately to the lengthening light in February and I could see buds forming. So the picture above is of the very first flower and you can see the number of buds still in the wings.  I know from Dan that they die down after flowering, but continue powering away at the root level, so I am planning to move a good plant of Cenolophium denudatum that I grew from seed to grow up and over them.  It will be slow to start up in the late spring, and so they will suit one another very well hopefully. I have to admit that I found a good price for ‘Brazen Hussy’ at a Belgian nursery online, so there are three more small plants on their way to help make more of a clump of them together.  I really love them.  It’s a small price for abundant cheerfulness despite the weather.

PS I forgot to mention ‘Louis the Geek’.  He writes a great blog and I am signing up for it. His piece on ‘Brazen Hussy’ is here.