Wearing something green on St. Patrick’s Day has been a tradition since emigrants, particularly in the United States, transformed the holiday into a largely secular event celebrating all things Irish. Cities with large numbers of Irish immigrants staged parades going back to 1737 in Boston and in New York City since 1762. Although blue was the color traditionally associated with St. Patrick, green is now commonly connected to this holiday with shamrocks high on the list of things to wear on this day.
There are many green flowers that you can grow in the garden. Green foliage, too, is relaxing and there are many of shades of green to choose from.
One of my favorite groundcovers for sunny areas that looks beautiful as it fills in between other low water use plants is Diamond Heights ceanothus. Carpet an area with this dense, low mat of golden yellow and lime-green variegated foliage. It looks great year round. The pretty light blue spring flowers take second place to the leaves.
This is one of those versatile plants, performing just as well in dry soils and tough situations as it does in sheltered gardens with partial shade and rich soils. If you want a spectacular effect, plant it as a group. Each plant covers 3-5 ft. Because the foliage makes a cover that weeds seldom manage to penetrate, it’s a real maintenance saver. Use it on difficult sites such as banks as well as in garden beds and raised beds. It’s also a stunner as a container plant, the foliage spreading wide on all sides.
Another great greenish flowering shrub to try is Safari Goldstrike Conebush. This leucadendron is a vigorous compact grower to 6 feet tall and blooms during the winter and spring. It’s bracts are excellent as a cut flower and foliage harvesting. They grow in full sun and have low water needs.
If you’re looking for a heat, drought and deer tolerant plant that attracts birds, butterflies and hummingbirds you should grow some Golden Leaf salvia. The fragrant foliage is good to flavor sausage, soup, dressings, cheese dishes and stuffing. The young leaves can be eaten fresh in salads or cooked in an omelet or with all types of beans, cabbage and garlic.
Over the years some of my favorite plants have had green flowers or shades of green foliage. There are green hydrangeas, green hellebores, lime green coral bells, Lady’s mantle, Sum & Substance hosta, green gladiolas, Mediterranean spurge and Bell of Ireland, of course.
So besides all that clover that is flourishing with these spring rains, enjoy everything green in your garden. The Irish have observed this day for over 1,000 years and so can you.