CLOVER – Dutch or White (Trifolium repens)

Europe, C Asia

Instead of having lawn in our small garden, using storage space for a lawnmower on ground where something could have lived and grown, we thought clover might be an alternative.

Clover, Kidney Geranium

White Clover

 Bees’ Favourite.

Trifolium repens is a food plant for Butterflies (the Clouded White and the Common Blue); both White and Red Clover are nectar sources for Honeybees and Bumblebees. As White or Dutch Clover is in flower from May to October, it seemed a good crop to draw bees to our garden over many months.

‘Many of our so-called ‘weeds’ are beneficial to wildlife, providing food for nectar-loving insects and shelter for minibeasts. Try leaving wilder areas in your garden, such as patches of White Clover in your lawn and Stinging Nettles near the compost heap, and see who comes to visit… To find out more about wildlife-friendly gardening, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there’s plenty of facts and tips to get you started.’

http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/species/white-clover

the-wildlife-trusts

We bought five White Clover plants at an Ecology Centre wildflower sale and planted them by the Damson tree. The little clover mat they formed brought in a steady clientele of bees at first. But then other wildflowers moved in, and the Clover patch became a place where squirrels could dig and cats could scentmark.

Clover in ceramic pot

 

Years ago, clover planted in a windowbox on the top floor of the house was found by hungry mice – they can climb brick walls, and were probably driven out of the woodland at the back when a developer chopped it down. Every last morsel of clover, even what had dried round the edges of the windowbox in intense sunshine, was eaten.

 Our small patch of Dutch Clover grows in a container for the time being.

See the Plants For a Future (PFAF) website for much more about this and other edible plants:

http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Trifolium+repens

Other names: Baa-lambs, Feathery Shamrock, Herb Trinity.