Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Battle of Clover Hill

The clover is getting out of control. I'm all for nitrogen fixing, but it's out-fixing everything else in my beds! Beo liberally planted one of his beds with white dutch clover last year. It made a wonderful lush carpet bedding, but we did have to diligently keep it from overgrowing the smaller plants in the bed. The patches of clover in the lawn have been welcomed with open arms. There is a small section of our lawn just to the West of the driveway and south of our major rain garden, with an island perennial bed in it. This bed has been dubbed "The twelve-pack bed" and I can't let that go without the story, so here it is:

When we first moved in to our house on bare earth, we embraced the rockdom which flowed freely from the ground. Every time we stuck a shovel in we hit rock. Instead of indiscreetly taking wheelbarrows full to the as-of-yet undeveloped lot acroos the street and dumping them at dusk (not that any of our neighbors did that!), we started beautiful cairns (or piles), and began bordering paths and garden beds with the rocks, which are for the most part quite lovely. I really love the huge rocks which Beo and a friend often ended up digging 10 ft wide holes to completley remove from the ground. One day as Beo was leaving for work, he saw that the excavator, in the process of digging the basement for the house next door, had unearthed a beautiful rock, about 3 ft long and 2 ft tall. He got the driver's attention and had the following conversation:
Beo: What are you planning to do with that rock?
Construction Guy: Put it back in the hole.
Beo: You want to dump it on this side of the property line instead?
Construction Guy: Do you know how much a rock like that is worth?
Beo: Not much, if you put it back in the hole.

Construction Guy: You got a 12 pack?
Beo: Uh, no. What's a 12 pack cost these days?
So for $10 I got my 12-pack rock, which is now the crowning glory of the garden bed we installed around it. (Incindentally, I later went out, not knowing the story, and told the Construction Guy he could leave the rock there in our side yard. He said: "Yeah, your husband told us. " Little did I know he had been bribed! Still, I guess it makes for a better story than "The Feminine Wiles bed") For some reason the side yard and 12-pack rock are infested (Beo would probably say blessed) with loads of clover. I'm not sure why it's so particularly prevalent there (though I have my suspicions, Beo!). I have been weeding, and carefully leaving in the clover, just pulling it back where it's encroaching on my Black Eyed Susans or Purple Coneflower, trying to be tolerant. Today was gloriously warm and in my clover thinning I found a few of my beloved plantlings getting choked out. I mowed the lawn (with our little push reel mower) and just pulled a little clover here and there. Bird saw what I was doing and ran over to me. "Mommy, that's Daddy's FAVORITE plant. You shouldn't do that!" So I let the clover be, and waited patiently for nap time. I started in on the 12-pack bed with the sole intent of doing some standard weeding, but after the millionth clover runner I snapped, and went for the hoe. My plantlings have plenty of space now, and are benefiting from the nitrogen fixing leaves which are worked back into the soil, roots drying in the sun. Thank goodness Bird didn't see THAT. I'm sure Beo will understand. Sometimes in my little ecoculture world, something's gotta give. That's why we drew the line between the front and back beds. He has his philosophy, I have mine. Yet marriage is about compromise. Once my plantlings have gained a bit of stature, I'll let the clover come back in force--which it doubtless will.


e4 said...

I love the 12-pack rock. That is great.

Good luck with the clover battle. I'm having a grass battle right now. I spread grass seed on our lawn, but it's so windy, it all ended up in the flower beds. Apparently it liked the mulched soil better...

e4 said...

For what it's worth, I wasn't able to comment on Beo's blog. Maybe that's intentional. It said I wasn't a team member or something...

Mia said...

Ah, grass too. These things need switches, or some kind of delineation. "Yes, we want you to grow to STOP. Right there. Great!" Hopefully that comment thing on Beo's blog has been was brought to my attention yesterday. Sorry!