04 June, 2008


A few weeks ago I mentioned that our lawn was a carpet of dandelions, and I was going to do little to eradicate them because I think dandelions are pretty, even if most other people don't. Well, the dandelions have been surpassed by the clover.

Field of clover. Really, who wants an all-grass lawn? The clover feels so cool and lush on my bare feet.
In the middle of the picture is a star magnolia I planted. In the distance, a river birch. Both are from Home Depot; so far, they're doing pretty well.

Because I do love folklore, I had to look up the lore surrounding clover. Everyone knows that a four-leaf clover is lucky, but there's more. One site had this to say: "In the middle ages the clover was considered a charm warn to ward off evil spirits and witches. The four-leaf clover was said to have even more power against evil, a five-leaf clover was said to be warn by witches to give them evil powers, and a two-leaf clover would give a maiden the power to see her future lover."

So, the broad band of clover surrounding The Box House should be a good deterrent against evil witches. I'll be searching for a four-leaf clover while I'm out there working; if I find one, wearing it in my left shoe will allow me to see the fairies.

I was reading in one of my gardening books, or maybe it was in a magazine somewhere, that grass seed mixtures once contained a high percentage of clover seeds because they were a lovely green and were very drought tolerant. Around the 1950s, when broad leaf herbicides became popular, seed companies dropped clover from the mix, as clover was killed off along with dandelions anyway.

So I find it funny that now, more than half a century later, we are supposed to think that single-species lawns, with nary a stray clover or dandelion, are the ideal, even if it's not natural and even if the resources necessary to maintain such a lawn are expensive and toxic.

Anyway, the clover, like the dandelions, get to stay.

Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them
—Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh by
A. A. Milne

What a diversity of creative wanderers: Weeds. I enjoy their beauty and variety, and do nothing to reap their rewards. I neither hoe, nor plant, nor water, nor fertilize, nor prune ... and they come and go in lovely profusion as the seasons move. Often a pleasure, sometimes a pain in the wrong place; and always an example of the wondrous assertion of Being.
—Mike Garofalo


Rae said...

Weeds tend to be the best eating of all the flowers. I loved weeds when I was a student; they kept me from getting scurvy as they were my only source of fresh veggies.

Clover flowers are mighty tasty; add a few to a salad. Just pull off the petals so you don't eat the bitter middle part.

Dandelion is probably the most versatile plant as you can eat all of it. When I couldn't afford coffee, I'd roast the roots, grind them, and brew them just like coffee. The result is an excellent substitute.

Lawns are evil. I'm happy to find someone else of like mind. And I think your landscaping attempts look great and very natural. Don't mind the idiots who make rude comments.

Anonymous said...

The Chicago Tribune had an article about lawns last week in conjunction with some exhibit at the Peggy Notebaert Museum. Something about grass mixed with clover and dandelions being a healthier lawn. It was coined the "Freedom Lawn." Apparently, we have a "Freedom Lawn" surrounding our Oak Park bungalow.

Joanne said...

Raven--I've had dandelion root coffee, but I have to admit I've never tried roasting and grinding it myself! Dandelion salad is good, and dandelion wine even better. I'll have to try the clover flowers.

Carol--thanks for the heads up on the article; I'll have to make it out to the museum for that exhibit.

Jen said...

Your clover lawn looks so pretty. I enjoyed this post. I love folklore.

Jennifer said...

I've heard of people planting a LAWN of clover! Apparently it does really well and doesn't need mowed! We have a little bit... but nothing like you!

Jennifer said...

I too think a lawn covered with clover & dandelions & all that chooses to grow is beautiful. We still have nothing but dirt tracks & moss since the roofers' fiasco. But Stan can't take it too much longer and that means he'll seed and that means there will be grass and that means there will be weeds!

Sandy said...

I love the clover!