Need Ranunculus Advice
Two years ago I grew ranunculus "dwarf tomer" for the first time. I put them in the ground in Autumn, covered them with a cold frame (I wanted them for wedding flowers so I was coddling them a bit), and ignored them until spring. When the frosts were over I removed the cold frame. We get lots of rain so the soil is almost always moist, but where I planted them is very well drained and only moderately fertile, about 25% loam/organic and the rest quite sandy. We are in a relatively warm micro-climate near the shores of Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland. Even our coldest winters don't drop below about -2, mostly we are +1 to +5 in winter.
I got strong growth and a fantastic display (but unfortunately it was over too early to get many blooms for the wedding), as you can see in the two attached pics from May and June.
They died back and I just left them in the ground without any winter protection thinking they would come back the next year. Only about 10% regrew last year, and this year only one single tuber of the original 150 came back.
They are described as a hardy perennial, although some sites say they should be protected from heavy frost. The instructions that came with them said they need well drained soil, but other sites suggested they prefer very moist soil and are even good as a bog plant companion. I can't seem to get any consistent advice, please help :-(
Should I lift them in winter? Did I keep them too wet, or too dry?
I really love these flowers and I am desperate to grow them again. Any advice would be very much appreciated.