The proper way to plant astrantia

I?ve ordered astrantia (or masterwort) from several nursery catalogues in the past. I get a strange mass of roots that has no apparent ?up? side. I?ve planted them a couple of inches down in fairly well drained soil in various sun/shade conditions, but nothing even sprouts. Help!
?Susan Gowen, Mississauga, ON

We asked plantsman Nori Pope, who introduced the terrific Astrantia ?Hadspen Blood?, for his advice. He says bareroot astrantias are a bit tricky to grow. ?They don’t like to be divided too small and they only do well if divided when in full growth. We always find it better to start them in a pot (the roots stay warmer).? So try potting up your bareroot purchases; I wouldn’t worry too much about which way is “up” in this case ? chances are the plant will
find its own way. Or simply buy container-grown plants.

?Marjorie Harris, Editor at Large