The magical oxalis plant

I've come to the conclusion that the oxalis is a little bit magic. A couple of weeks ago I tracked down an Oxalis Triangularis at the very lovely Botany on Chatsworth Road. I've had my eye out for one ever since the other half and I spotted one in a nearby shop where it was not for sale. Also known as the purple shamrock, false shamrock or love plant, this delicate bulb flutters its butterfly leaves open as daylight comes and closes them again in the evening. With three dark purple leaves to each stem and soft pinkish white flowers, it's proving to be a striking addition to our living room. Oxalis triangularis

I've found myself visiting it every day to say hello, and watch as it wakes in the morning and goes to sleep in the evening. Weirdly, I never thought I'd find myself falling in love with an oxalis. Growing up in warmer climes, I would help my grandparents weed in their vast rose garden from a very young age (they lived next door). One of the first weeds I learnt the name of, was undoubtedly the oxalis due to its nature to spread like wide fire because of its ever-multiplying bulbs. I would sift soil to dispose of the tiny bulbs, all to earn a few coins pocket-money. I'm not sure my grandma would be impressed that I now find myself besotted with an oxalis  but I do think she'd be very happy that a) I have very green thumbs and b) it's confined indoors to a terracotta pot. I'm not sure what the variety of oxalis was that I used to weed was, but I'm pretty certain it wasn't as pretty or fluttery as this guy.

I'm not an expert but here are a few care tips I've picked up:

  • Water well then let the top few cms of soil dry right out before watering again
  • They like a well lit spot but not necessarily bright sunlight
  • This variety works well indoors as a house plant
  • It's poisonous to pets but apparently tastes pretty bad so they'd be a fool to taste too much
  • The bulbs will multiply so you can propagate by splitting the clump and repotting
  • If you forget to water it or it's too cold, it'll die right back above ground and put all its energy into the bulbs to survive
  • If you neglect it badly, it will go into dormancy and die right back. But you should be able to bring it back to life pretty quickly, if you give it a good watering.

x C

How my garden grows

Remember that ridiculously cold Saturday a few weeks back, just before the snow came? For some unknown reason, I decided to venture into my garden to see how it was coping in the cold, to pick some kale, and to see if I could spy the first few flakes falling.

The kale I grew from seed is going strong, and is one of the few things that has survived the cold. All good kale recipe suggestions are welcomed. My cauliflowers are still doing okay too, but have some way to go before they'll be dinner.

Big Ginger here was watching me. Just chilling in a hidden pot. Too shy to come over for a pat, but happy to pose for a photo. I hope he found somewhere warm to hide before the snow came.

This is a forgotten frozen beetroot. Planted last summer, it never made it to the salad bowl as it grew too slowly. Poor old beet.

I'm looking forward to rediscovering my green thumbs from underneath my mittens. I'm planning on planting beans, more beets and loads more. I'm also making it my mission to fill the dozens of empty pots that came with the garden. It's the first time I've lived in a flat with a proper garden since moving to London, and I'm so looking forward to transforming what was a completely Blackberry strangled jungle to my own green sanctuary.

Note: if you're wondering why the colours in this post are so whack, it was that weird light before snow came, and I've been playing around with Lightroom for a bit of fun.