Thursday, May 20, 2010

Dancing queen: Dark Dancer Clover

I've always had a soft spot in my heart for clover.  The poofy flowers, the soft  structure of the leaves... knowing the difference between it and medic and oxalis :P

When I was a kid, I was the one on the softball team in far left field, dawdling,  throwing my glove in the air or on the ground looking for 4 leaf clovers.  I mean, what  8 year old is going to throw a homer my way? (It did happen; twice, I recall, and my  team was not happy with me.)

I think I've found 4, maybe 5, four-leaf clovers in my lifetime that I'm sure I pressed  between pages of books for safekeeping, only to lose track of which books they were in  over the years.

It's not as though I really believed in the nature of luck to be gained by 4 leaf  clovers, just the simple rarity of them was enough to sustain my interest and I suppose  the pleasure of whiling away the time enjoying the simplicity of such small treasures.

Even as an adult, I can't go past a patch of clover without giving it a cursory glance  for 4 leafed stalks.

Well, right now I've got Mother Nature beat.  Or you might say, scientists have made  the magic a little less special because I purchased some time ago Pre-P.M. (Pre-Plant  Moratorium) this little lovely:

All Hail to Dark Dancer Clover!

As you might expect, the burgandy on green hue is what first caught my eye, but upon  closer inspection, I noticed a four leaf clover, then another, and another, and more!

Dark Dancer is gifted with not only beauty, but luck too! (Sounds like the fairies  gifting Sleeping Beauty doesn't it? Well, except for that one stupid bit of bad  luck...)

I'm in love with Dark Dancer, and though she's blessed with all her gifts, I've seeded  in my front and back lawn some basic red and white clover so I can have patches of the plain ol' stuff to lie on my belly in and while away the time look for 4 leafed treasure.

ADDENDUM:  The OTHER reason I've seeded my front and back lawn with clovers is because  we don't really fertilize our lawn, and as clovers are nitrogen fixers thus fertilizers, which I hope it will do our lawn good.

Red clover has the interesting property too of a being a favorite food of slugs I've  read and research seems to indicate it as being an excellent diversion crop for crops  such as strawberries.  Granted, as my husband scoffs, 'why are we feeding pests?' it's  a little counterintuitive to be letting pests you hate get a free dinner, but we can  just hope too, that with a little Slugg-o in the clover patch, maybe those slugs won't  be coming back...

I've also heard that planting clover in a lawn can encourage moles because many bugs seem to  like clover and when you bring bugs, their predators (the moles) will not be far  behind.  So far my clover patches aren't too large yet, but this was just a warning for  those who might be interested in clovering up their lawn too.  If I get any extra  moles, I'll mention it.

ALSO, more info on Dark Dancer:
Dark Dancer, like all clovers, is perennial here and is known to spread relatively well  to vigorously.  While I really wanted to plant it in my lawn, the husband thinks that  would be 'weird' and so I've taken his opinion into consideration and planted a small  patch at the edge of a flower bed...near the lawn, in hopes that it might make it's  escape and spread, spread my pretties!

Another point of interest is that, despite its appearance, Dark Dancer is actually a  white clover.  I know that it's the flowers that determine the white/red variety of  clover, but a person could easily assume that the red leaves would mean red flowers or  just red clover-ness.  Hmm, now I sort of wish the flower did come in red because  that'd be rather pretty and I just like red.

FINALLY, just a crazy thought because I'm weird:
Speaking of nitrogen fixers, did you know that when there's a thunder storm, with lots of lightning, it makes the ground more fertile?  When lightning strikes, the energy breaks nitrogen molecules in the air enabling it to bond with oxygen and this forms nitrogen oxides which then dissolve in rain and gets carried down to the earth.  SO, other than the amount of energy to create this, wouldn't it be awesome to create some sort of 'lightning sprinkling water wand' that we could go around using in our gardens (or that we could rent?) and zap our gardens into fertility? Spiffy and Thor-tastic!