In the Garden: Tiny Chilean plant is a big winner

Why Do Garage Door Springs Break

“The winds of heaven gathered there as pure & cold as dew; Wood-sorrel & wild violets along the hedgerows grew.” From ‘The Hills of Home’ by Malcolm Hemphrey.

I don’t need the wild violets, because pretty as they are, without a lot of weeding they’d be here to stay. As for the wood sorrel (Oxalis stricta), I’ve written of it in the past and related how what a pest it had become in parts of my garden. It looks like a shamrock with yellow flowers.

But other species of Oxalis are a pleasure to grow, and they aren’t invasive pests. I have Oxalis triangularis, or purple shamrock. It’s the one with the large purple leaves perfectly complemented by lilac flowers that grow from bulblike corms. This one can also be easily grown as a houseplant, except mine are in an old sap bucket.

What is remarkable is I planted them so long ago I can’t remember. It could be almost 20 years because the pail is the same colour as the garage door was a few paint cycles ago. Every fall I put the pail in the garage. In spring, out it comes. I water it, maybe give it a little fertilizer, but not much. That’s all I do, and it always grows beautifully. Only a plastic plant would be lower maintenance.

In early spring I discovered another Oxalis species (there are many) with a similar moniker at a local nursery. Oxalis adenophylla, also known as silver shamrock or Chilean Oxalis, which is where it hails from. It grows there and in Argentina, high in the Andes mountains, which it means…

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