This time of year, it's hard not to be jealous of flower farmer friends in warmer climates. I see you there on Instagram with your dahlias and chrysanthemums still in bloom. A few dreary, cold days in New Hampshire, and I'm scouring the inter webs to find ways to build our first hoop house, pronto!
If my better senses and budget didn't slow me down, I'd probably have a whole fleet of heated greenhouses by now. But that's not what this post is really about. It's about appreciating where I am and looking for alternatives to the blooms I wish I could grow on the farm in zone 5-6, just south of Keene, NH (without a hoop house..., for now, anyways).
Rather than shed tears over the ranunculus corms I won't be planting on our farm, I've decided to share a little secret. If you crave those ruffly round blooms and, like me, don't have the means to grow them- there is a lovely alternative! For part one of the "Don't Mind the Snow, It Will Still Grow" series, I'm looking at varieties of trollius. While you won't find as wide a range in colors as ranunculus, trollius plants do offer more variety than the better known yellow-orange flowers seen here with lilacs. And- check out that really neat fern-like foliage. Trollius are a go-to spring time ranunc. replacement.
Trollius, or Globeflowers, don't mind damp areas. They are easy-going perennials, and have interesting deeply-divided leaves. Trollius plants have a mounding habit, and they can be encouraged to re-bloom by cutting or dead-heading. Besides the color above, you can also find beautiful cup-shaped trollius flowers in warm and cool yellows and a creamy, near-white. Each of these varieties is hardy to zone 4. The plants are generally about two feet tall.
These varieties are available through specialty perennial grower, Digging Dog Nursery in Albion, California. Visit their site for trollius and other hard-to-find perennials.