March 17, 2008


or White Clover

There's a dear little plant that grows in our isle,
'Twas Saint Patrick himself, sure, that set it;
And the sun of his labor with pleasure did smile,
And with dew from his eye often wet it.
It grows through the bog, through the brake, through the mireland
And they call it the dear little Shamrock of Ireland.

Legend has it that the Shamrock was used by St. Patrick in the fifth century to show the meaning of the Trinity. It is found on medieval tombs and old copper coins know as St. Patrick's money. It was also thought to have magical powers as the leaves stand upright to warn of an approaching storm.

While the Shamrock is not an official emblem of Ireland it is a popular national brand, the most prominent user being Aer Lingus whose tail is decorated with this heart-shaped trefoil.

For good luck the bouquet of an Irish bride and the boutonniere of the groom include the Shamrock. It is also the symbol of quality for Irish B & B's that have earned the coveted emblem.

And of course today, being St. Patrick's Day, a shamrock that is worn in the hat or lapel is removed and put into the last drink of the evening. After the toast the shamrock is thrown over the left shoulder. Slainte !


  1. Is there really such thing as a four leaf clover? I remember as a kid searching and searching with no avail (had a lot of time on my hands back then) ~ reading about all this gardening inspired me to plant herbs the other day...getting warm & nice where I'm at....

    I didn't know about the Shamrock legend and the Trinity meaning, will keep in mind when story telling w/kids. Thank you ~ I

  2. Hi Ingar,

    There is a four-leaf clover and like you I did a lot of searching for it as a kid and found several. We always placed them under our pillow for good luck.

    Wish it was warm enough to plant herbs here. What are your favorites ? I planted leaf lettuce and green onions one year and my hubby loved it because he could make a Korean lettuce lunch and eat on the patio.

  3. Slainte mhath indeed, Carolyn (I'm a Scot Gael rather than an Irish one). It's funny about four leafed clovers--I found one last summer just by looking down in the clover in our 'lawn'. I have it dried and tucked in a book somewhere in this office.
    My father brought me back a pin from Ireland many years ago, made of Connemara Marble inlaid in silver, in the shape of a shamrock. I still have it, of course, and wear it regularly.
    Hope the weather is more springlike in Chicago than here--lovely and sunny, but cold. I bought a bunch of new plants to console myself....:-)

  4. Appropriate and informative post, Carolyn! Happy St. Patrick's Day! Is the river green there today?

  5. I knew we were connected somehow, Jodi. I'm a Scotch Irish lass myself! My ancestors lived in Ireland so long they seemed to have forgotten the Scottish part.

    Now my family's roots are going back to the old country as my daughter married a Cork native. I'll have a good reason to visit Ireland every year with my future grandkids.

    Nothing like fresh flowers to console the winter-weary.

  6. The Chicago river is indeed green and so is the beer, Kylee.

    Happy St. Patrick's Day to you as well.

  7. Happy St. Patrick's Day Caroline!

  8. Hello Carolyn,
    Every year I love to grow basil, Italian parsley and chives....basically my 'holy trinity' that works well and plus I don't have to spend too much time tending too. We used to live in Ohio and we grew tons of crazy looking tomatoes the kids would pick off and eat like apples.

    I just planted some Japanese eggplant - we'll see what will be my first time with this one.

    You definitely have a green thumb - a 'master' green thumb as previously mentioned if you found 4leaf clovers! Yes ~ the Korean salad of red leaf lettuce, chives & gochu-gkaru.....yummi!



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