Friday, June 5, 2015

My favorite plant this week is another weed

I could have presented Echeveria 'Afterglow' as my favorite plant this week instead of as the focus of my Wordless Wednesday post but the Echeveria lost out to another plant that I've been watching for the past few weeks, Trifolium repens, also known as white clover.



Yes, I know it's often thought of as a weed but it isn't common to my eyes - I can't remember seeing it pop up in any of my gardens.  Unlike the weed I featured as a favorite plant last year, Hibiscus trionum*, I didn't plant the clover.  My guess is that seeds hitchhiked in with the additional topsoil we brought in last year after digging out our front lawn and that our recent rains caused these seeds to sprout.



I was struck by its pretty leaves before the flowers appeared (even though I was unsuccessful in discovering a four-leaved clover within either of the 2 clumps growing along the path).




The bees, already spending time feeding happily on the flowering thyme and geranium in the front garden, also seem pleased with the clover, even though they defied my efforts to get a photo of them on the clover this morning.

Bee on Geranium x cantabrigiense 'Biokovo'

Bee absorbed by Thymus serphyllum 'Minus'


According to my western garden guide, the clover needs regular water so I don't expect it'll survive our long, dry summer.  It therefore seemed appropriate to acknowledge its presence in my garden, however brief that may be.  After all, it's helping my garden by drawing nitrogen from the air and fixing it in the soil.  It may not be the most exciting plant I've proposed as a favorite but I appreciate the common members of the plant community as much as the exotic ones.



Loree of danger garden features a favorite plant wrap-up on the last Friday of each month.  You can see her May summary here.

*Contrary to the dire predictions posted on-line concerning Hibiscus trionum, it hasn't proven at all invasive in my climate.


All material © 2012-2015 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

28 comments:

  1. I love the leaves as well. They are like auxalis with white lines. So pretty even without the flowers. And bees do love it. Anything we can do to help out the bees is a positive in my book. With all the rain we've had lately maybe I should take the seeds off your hands? : )

    And speaking of that - apparently our rainy times are over again. The forecast is calling for a run of sunny days with highs in the 90s. Let the summertime begin!

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    1. 90 degree temps already! Yikes. Although I shouldn't be surprised given that we ventured into that territory in March. The cooler weather that started in May here lulled me into the impression that maybe summer could be put off for awhile. A foolish dream, no doubt.

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  2. What a great little party-crasher! We had clover as a "lawn weed" in the midwest, but even so, I don't recall it being much of a problem. Enjoy it while it lasts :) I love your bee shots; the thyme is obviously keeping them busy!

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    1. The bees are very happy - and very busy - here and, with all the publicity concerning the loss of them in massive numbers, I'm glad to have them.

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  3. It's a perpetual member of my 'lawn' (which is just a collection of grasses cut every few weeks!!!) It wasn't always classed as a weed: all 'lawns' in the late 19th/early 20th Century had clover, it was seen as romantic like lawn daisies. It was only classed as a lawn weed in the 1950s when the chemical companies couldn't stop it from being poisoned with the selective herbicides. I always leave it in place....it certainly does no harm in my eyes.

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    1. It's interesting that business politics influenced the perception of clover - I guess that's also true of the dandelion. I'd gladly plant clover as a lawn substitute but it seems that it needs more water than it's likely to receive here.

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  4. Pretty leaves! And I wonder if four leaf ones really do exist?

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    1. Apparently, the mutations that produce 4-leaf and even 5-leaf clovers aren't uncommon. Angie mentions a 4-leafed variety growing in her garden below.

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  5. It's fun seeing clover from your perspective. It's a major component of my "lawn", which is never watered. I do try to keep it out of garden beds, though there's really no reason to except where it would swallow small plants.

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    1. It does seem to spread out once it gets going! Even though I know you're experiencing drought up north too, I suspect you get more rain than we have the last few years. The 2 plants in my front garden both sprang up adjacent to the flagstone path so I suspect they're getting run-off from the stone.

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    2. Oh yes, definitely more rain up here. Even though the dry season started early and there's precious little snow on the mountains, I think the overall precipitation over the wet season was about the normal. That clover may go 2-3 months, at least, without water in my lawn, but that is after getting lots of rain for the rest of the year.

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  6. I love that a common weed is your favorite plant in the garden this week. The bees do love it, and it's great that it's a nitrogen fixer. If it dries up, put the dead sticks and leaves in your compost, they'll add nitrogen too (you do compost, right? I don't remember seeing a compost pile.) It is a pretty leaf. I used to search clover for four-leafed ones too.

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    1. I do compost! I'm surprised you missed that gigantic compost tumbler sitting in my side yard near the garage - I inherited it from the prior owner. I also had a pile down at the bottom of the slope but that was eliminated when the giant Yucca was removed (exposing the area to the neighbor).

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  7. I grow purple 4 leafed clover (trifollium quad something or other!) in a pot and love it. I wouldn't dream of putting it anywhere near the borders though.
    You've a nice wee clump there and as you say bees love it. Enjoy it whilst you can Kris :)

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  8. It is ornamental--and you can't beat free nitrogen fertilizer--or happy bees.

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    1. I've heard that it's often used as a cover crop because of it's usefulness in fixing nitrogen. It's too bad it likes water - it it was less thirsty, I'd seed it about a little.

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  9. White clover is growing EVERYWHERE over here, whether you want it or not. I don’t think I would have had it in my garden, but there are actually several 4 leaved version, the one Angie said and also one I have wanted for a while, Oxalis deppei which has dainty pink flowers. It is also called The Good Luck Plant :-)

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    1. Ah! I have seen that Oxalis. Thanks for the ID, Helene.

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  10. I agree with celebrating the common as well as the exciting. After all, the exciting isn't so exciting without the common to compare to. If you hadn't said this was a weed, I mightn't have known it's considered one!

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    1. I don't think it's considered a weed everywhere, Amy. It's actually used as a cover crop in many areas. It's just purveyors of pristine lawns that have categorized it as such.

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  11. Oh, yes, I love white clover, too! As a child, I would sit in a field of it and make chains, which I wore as necklaces. I have a path of it in the part of my garden containing several vegetable plots. I made sure Lou knew I did not consider it a weed!

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    1. It can only help bring in the pollinators to your vegetable beds, Deb.

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  12. Oh my, I know that one well as, like Evan, it's a component of my lawn. It's also the reason for my only bee sting as an adult. Waking around barefoot I managed to step on one of those bees as they were enjoying the flowers.

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  13. Ouch! An accidental sting, I'm sure. The bees flitting among the thyme, geranium and clover along my front path are amazingly docile (or perhaps I should say focused).

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  14. I love the clovers that pop up in my garden, too. I'm hoping to create a swath of clover lawn in my new front garden. I notice that, despite the very different conditions in which we garden, we both have Geranium 'Biokovo' blooming in early June. -Jean

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    1. That Geranium needs partial shade here. I tried several plants along the front walkway but they were frying even with our relatively cool spring so I moved them to give them shade during the hottest part of the afternoon.

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  15. I love clover and have lots of it. :o) It's good for the garden and the pollinators. I actually seed it into my lawn and have a ground cover of Microclover in a low, moist spot.

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