Happy St. Paddy’s Day!

May there always be work for your hands to do.

May your purse always hold a coin or two.

May the sun always shine warm on your windowpane.

May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain.

May the hand of a friend always be near you.

And may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.

— Irish blessing

ImageHappy St. Patrick’s Day from me and Fiona.

Who’s Fiona? My Shamrock plant, that’s who.

Of course you knew I’d have a Shamrock plant, didn’t you? Don’t all Irish folks have Shamrocks hanging around?

Actually, Fiona’s real name is Oxalis, and she’s a member of the wood sorrel family. Her brothers and sisters come in shades of green, purple, and red; they bloom with tiny white, pink, yellow, or red flowers once or twice a year.

Widely available around St. Patrick’s Day, Oxalis is easy to grow from carrot-shaped roots. A perennial, Oxalis likes a woodsy, shady area with rich, moist soil. It goes dormant during the summer; cut the leaves back and put it in a cool, dark place for two to three months. When you notice fresh shoots emerging, move it to a sunny window and start the cycle anew.

One warning: Shamrock plants are toxic to dogs! Ingesting quantities of any part of the plant can cause a dog to vomit and lead to kidney failure and death. My Sheltie doesn’t even know that Fiona exists because she’s on a really tall shelf, far away from his curiosity!