This section is from the book "The Gardener V2", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
I herewith send for your notice a plant of double Ranunculus in flower. We have a good-sized bed of them here (5 feet by 24) at the west end of a south border in our kitchen-garden, and to see them at mid-day, when their petals are all gaily expanded to the beautiful sunlight, they produce a very brilliant and pleasing effect. Their colours are various, but that of the one I just send you is the boldest and perhaps the most showy. Referring to my note-book, I find it was about the middle of February when the roots were planted. They were inserted in drills about 8 inches apart, and a little over an inch below the surface, each crown having a little sand put round about it before being covered in. We prepared what we thought a good place for them, for we raised the soil of the border several inches, with a mixture of rotten dung, leaf-mould, river sand, and wood-ashes from the rubbish-heap, all of which were well incorporated together with the soil. Since the roots were put in they have given us no further trouble than perhaps an occasional hoeing or weeding to keep them clean, and now they have produced better results than we at first expected.
The flowers last long when cut, and such things would be well adapted for transmitting to great distances, as there would be no great danger of their being much injured by the journey.
Robert Mackellar. Elvaston, June 5th.
[The specimens received were magnificent. - Ed].