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St. Patrick's Cabbage

by User Not Found | Mar 16, 2013

As many of you take clippings from your Shamrock plant this weekend in celebration of St Patrick’s Day, will you stop to consider the origins of this three leaved beauty? We have been doing a little research here at CountryLife HQ and have found that there are many myths and stories surrounding the tradition of three leaved shamrock in Ireland. Most interestingly we came across what you could call a relative of the Shamrock family – the Watercress, also known as summer watercress.

Early references to the shamrock are believed to be to watercress. Evidence to support this come’s from Ireland’s County Meath and Shamrock Well, the watercress of which was still remembered in the 1940s as ‘the finest in the district’. Watercress has also been known to be called St. Patrick’s Cabbage’ in Ireland.

For those of you busy planting for the growing season ahead, maybe consider growing some of St. Patrick’s cabbage in your garden this year. Watercress is best planted in mid to late Spring, whether growing in or outdoors, it is best positioned in bright sheltered location away from direct sunshine with continuous moist conditions. If you decide to plant watercress in a container our top tip would be to stand your pot or container in a bowl of water and replace daily.

The next time you sit down to enjoy a leafy watercress salad you can relate it to back to be a somewhat relative of our symbolic Irish three leaved Shamrock.

Just to mention we also found a wild flower of the name St Patrick’s Cabbage in case there is any mix up – St. Patrick has certainly had an influence in the gardening world!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from all the CountryLife Gardening Team!