Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Wednesday Vignette: The Price of Inattention

Back in April, in a Tell the Truth post, I included photos of the clover (Trifolium repens) overtaking the flagstone pathway in my front garden.  I justified leaving it alone based on the arguments that clover fixes nitrogen in the soil; its dense foliage prevents the raccoons from digging; the bees like it; and the flowers are pretty.



I also said that, when our long-awaited remodel started, the clover would get trampled down anyway.  What I failed to consider was how far it could spread, especially as we continued to get rain into May and as the date for our remodel got pushed out time and again.  It spread last year too but not to the extent it has this year.

Not only can you not see much of the path here, you can barely make out the Artemisia versicolor 'Seafoam' (the silver gray foliage), Cordyline 'Renegade' (burgundy foliage), or Phormium 'Tom Thumb'.  The clover is also encroaching on the surrounding Leucadendrons, hellebores and other plants on the left.


Yesterday morning, before the temperature climbed into the 90s on the second day of our first heatwave of the summer season, I spent a good hour cutting back the area immediately surrounding the flagstone path.  (I need to buy a string trimmer.)

You can see most of the flagstones again and I cleared much of the clover choking out the Artemisia

but the clover's steady march into the beds on either side of the flagstone path still needs to be curtailed


Lesson learned.  In addition to cutting back "weeds" like Erigeron karvinskianus (aka Santa Barbara daisy) and Centranthus ruber (aka Jupiter's beard), I should be cutting back the clover in late spring.  Hopefully, next year I won't allow myself to get distracted.

This post owes credit to both Alison of Bonnie Lassie, who spearheaded the idea of "Tell the Truth Tuesday," and Anna of Flutter & Hum, who hosts Wednesday Vignette.


All material © 2012-2019 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

16 comments:

  1. Oh my... it is a vigorous one, isn't it? I've heard of this nice little micro clover that's often used in alternative lawn seed mixes which allow you to only mow every few weeks. In the beginning, it was marketed as a "no-mow lawn" and one of our local universities planted tons of it. Turns out, if you never mow it, it eventually reverts to Dutch Clover, and does exactly what your clover did. I heard the claim of being "no-mow" was quickly revised after the ensuing law suit. Go figure!

    I laughed when you called the Centranthus and the Erigeron "weeds". They are so lovely! My friend Tamara (of Chickadee Gardens fame) has drifts of that same Erigeron in her garden, and it is stunning!

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    1. Well, I allow the Centranthus and Erigeron karvinskianus to stay as they're pretty weeds, even if sometimes difficult to manage. The clover may be in a different category altogether.

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  2. I have an enormous purple clover in one of my front beds, in a spot that's hard to get to, so I've also just let it run. I have plans to redo that bed, so it will get pulled out at some point. At least the flowers are pretty.

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    1. I was surprised at just how broadly the clover has spread while I wasn't watching. Last year's exceptionally dry conditions kept it somewhat under control but it appears it REALLY liked this year's heavier rain.

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  3. Yeah, definitely one of those good news-bad news plants. My lawn is full of it, but it isn't allowed in the garden. It, along with ground ivy and violets are persona-non-grata.

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    1. I certainly never planted the clover, at least not consciously. I haven't seen it in neighboring gardens either. My theory is that it came in with the compost or extra topsoil I brought in the year before last.

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  4. I understand clover is the favorite graze for cows. The local park's lawn is loaded with clover. It looks beautiful there.

    There are many plants we enjoy as long as they are not in, or anywhere near, our own gardens.

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    1. I've only seen clover in little bits here and there, where it's crept into lawn areas. I've never seen it run amok like this and I'm unsure where it came from - my best guess is that it snuck in with a load of compost or topsoil. My mistake was letting it creep after it made its initial appearance.

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  5. Ah . . . clover can be a menace. It's allowed in my lawn for the bees. I have numerous kinds of clover that are always coming up in my flower beds, but I am diligent to keep it out. Around here, no one would consider it a flower, but a weed indeed.

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    1. I haven't ever seen a lawn or even a field rampant with clover like this. I suspect I'm going to be struggling with keeping it under control, although a hot, dry summer may put a lid on its spread.

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  6. Wow, I have never seen clover get so rowdy. We have some in our grass and it pops up here and there but wow...you had it in the worst way.

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    1. I've never seen this before either, Lisa, which perhaps explains my complacency when it first appeared.

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  7. Wow, that’s some very happy clover!

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  8. At this time of the year, clover suddenly appears in our lawn and grows very rapidly- about the only thing growing so well just now. Even without rain! It’s very hard to eradicate as it’s tough to pull out.

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    1. Yes, I've discovered that! The plant arrived by accident, probably with a load of compost or topsoil, and it spread relatively slowly - at first. Our drought kept it under control for awhile but the winter rains seemed to set it on a march.

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