Just to give a breather from all the iris, here is something completely different. Hailing from Africa and Asia this is Parochetus communis, the shamrock pea. It is easy to see why it got its common name although since shamrock is probably a pea-relative anyway perhaps it is a bit confusing. Anyway, with apologies to my Irish friends, shamrock is a bit of a weedy thing and this plant is a lot nicer in the garden. It is a ‘not quite hardy’ plant that benefits from a little winter protection but then will grow like crazy in spring, sending out long stems, that root as they wander, over the soil and produce small, vibrant, cobalt blue flowers through spring, summer and autumn. There are never loads of them but the sprinkling of flowers sparkles over the neat foliage which, in good light, is marked with red.
I bought my plant a month ago and promptly ripped it into six pieces and they are all now as big as the original. They will now go into hanging baskets in a semi-shaded spot where I will expect them to trail over the edge and form a sheet of foliage and flowers. It is not a tricky plant but it does not like drying out. Although a bit of a spreader, it would be nice between rocks in semi shade and I might introduce it to a patch of helxine and see who comes out tops!
6/10 – flowers are a bit patchy