Answer: In hot, humid climates plants like gladiolus and ranunculus tend to droop in mid-summer unless they are protected from hot sunshine. That's why I suggested some afternoon shade, even though they are traditionally planted in full sun in other parts of the country. Or, you could plant them early so they can finish flowering before the hottest part of the summer (they take 8-10 weeks from planting to flowering). I can only suggest that you try planting them under the tree and see how they perform. If it's too hot and sunny you can move them next season. Soaking isn't always necessary but a few hours in water will help them plump up. Don't worry about moving the mulch - the plants will sprout up through the mulch.
Hope you have great success!
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