"One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it brings."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Luck in the garden.

With spring right around the corner there is definitely lots of green showing up in gardens, and such a nice bright green too!  Perfect for St. Patrick's Day when green is the color of the day.  On Valentine's Day I looked for hearts in my garden, today I went looking for shamrocks and luck in my garden.  Shamrocks as a lot of people have heard were used as the representation of the Holy Trinity.  But did you know that it was believed to have mystic powers as well?  Apparently it was believed that the leaves of the shamrock would stand upright to warn of approaching storms.
I have a couple of shamrock type plants in my garden.  And as luck would have it they were both given to me!  Even more lucky is that they have both been great additions to my garden through the last 4 or 5 years.  The only unlucky part is that I don't know exactly what they are.
This first one was given to me by my best garden friend.  I think it is wood sorrel or oxalis acetosella.  It is sometimes referred to as Shamrock.
It has a little white flower in spring.  I have left it to grow under my cedar tree and it seems happy there.  Not many ground covers like it there, so I'm letting it have it's space.  I will keep it in check if it decides to outgrow it's alloted area.  It dies back in the winter, but is starting to spring back up.
This oxalis oregana, which Grace at Grace Peterson helped me identify, is a really great little plant too.  I have divided it many times over and it just bounces back.  
It stays in nice little clumps and blooms pretty pink flowers early spring to late fall.  I have it growing along my pond edge and under hydrangeas and rhododendrons too.  This is a picture from a couple of summers ago.
Now for a little luck.  I spotted the first of my sweet violets - viola odorata to bloom.  I allow them to spread in the shade areas and simply pull out the ones I don't want.
I also found that the Baptisia is coming back.  I'll tell you why I find that lucky.  It was a nice hot and sunny day last summer that I had the impulse to move this plant.  It looked quite dead by the end of summer and I had pretty much accepted it wouldn't come back.  Now I see all this new growth.  I do feel that luck was on my side with that plant move.
I hope no shamrock leaves are standing up today and that everyone has a nice sunny day, and you find some luck in your garden!
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  1. Morning Catherine. I always associate shamrocks with St. Pat's Day too. I just moved one outside this morning, it is a dark purple one, purported to be hardy here but I overwintered it inside. My green one is coming back-not so much as yours though-that's a lot of luck! Have a great day!

  2. Hi Catherine, Your gardens look so beautiful. What's the tall purple blooming behind the violas? Gorgeous. Something use to grow by my Grandmas place in the woods and I thought it was a Sorrel of some sort and looked like your first picture. We use to eat them and boy were they sour.

  3. What a very nice post! Lovely photos!! Blessings of Good Health and Fortune to you and yours!!!

  4. I had to laugh. I did the same thing with my Baptisia a few summers ago. I knew moving it was a gardening faux pas but I didn't care. I wanted it MOVED, darn it. :) I was sure I had killed it because I've read that they don't like to be moved. But low and behold it survived despite me and my impetuosity. You gotta love a plant that will do that!

    You know, I am not positive that the Oxalis species is actually oregana. After I confidently declared its identity, I was visiting a nursery owner who casually mentioned Oxalis crispa, which looks identical to yours and mine. But so does O. oregana. So.... It's one or the other. :) Sorry. I wish I would have gotten a tag years ago when I bought the plant but that particular nursery is now defunct. Gardening keeps us humble.

  5. Lots of luck in your garden! And congrats on being one of the winners of those French heirloom lettuce seeds. I had left a comment and then promptly forgot which blog was doing the giveaway. I've been wondering around the blogosphere trying to find my way back. Finally hit the right blog this morning and saw your name among the winners. Much luck to you on this St. Patrick's Day!

  6. Such wonderful pictures. Happy St. Patrick's in the garden!

  7. Hi Catherine

    You seem to have so much happening in your garden so early.

    I planted an unusual oxalis triangularis (purple shamrock) which came back last year and I'm hoping for a second return.

    Be lucky


  8. Oh, Violets!...a sure sign of spring.
    Glad your Baptisia survived. They are an awesome plant.

  9. Tina - A purple oxalis sounds pretty! I'm so happy to see the oxalis returning after the snow we had. The second one usually doesn't die back in the winter, but it seems to have survived anyway.

    RainGardener - I didn't know sorrel was edible. If it's sour I don't think I'll try it. In the viola picture there is just more violas behind it. The foliage on this one is very purple.

    Darla- Thank you! I wish the same to you :)

    Grace - I love when plants prove me wrong. I've moved others that don't like moving and most of them have been okay. I'm glad they can take living here, because I test their hardiness often :)
    I'll have to take a look at the o. crispa. For now I'm giving you the credit and calling it oregana :)

    Curmudgeon - Wandering the blogosphere :) I'm glad you found your way back! I saw that I won, I should count that as part of my luck then. I never win anything :)

    Lanny - Happy St. Patrick's Day. Hope you enjoyed the few minutes of sun we had today :)

    Rob- I had no idea they would overwinter. They sell those here around this time of year, but I think they are treated as houseplants. I hope you're lucky and find them again this year!

    Connie - I know, I just love these little violets. I hope I'll see more out there soon. I can't wait to see the Baptisia bloom! I didn't get to see them last year.

  10. I love all your photos! And I was amazed it was snowing (and you still had blooms!)

  11. I enjoy your photos so much. Hope you enjoyed the day.

  12. I too have Baptisia coming up which I planted late last year. Mine isn't up as much as your is.

    Hope you had a nice St. Pattys Day!

  13. Rosemarie - I really have been surprised at overall how well the garden has been doing too after this winter!

    Mildred - Thanks. We had a great day here!

    Susie - I actually couldn't believe I saw it, and I wasn't even looking for it. I hope yours blooms this year too, I've heard it can take them a couple of years.

  14. lots of luck with your garden, there must be leprechauns to go with the shamrock plants. Oxalis here is a scary weed. Which just goes to show context and climate is all!

  15. Susan - Pretty interesting how a weed somewhere else is a plant people pay money for other places. I always think that when I hear about people buying horse tail or broom which are weeds here.


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