This red clover is among the oldest species on the property, dating back to at least 1962 despite having been weeded, mowed and otherwise ignored.
As a child, I was fascinated by the white markings on its leaves, making it seem quite exotic for such a simple plant.
In the early days of gardening with my Mom, the goal in Spring was to rip out all the “weeds” to make way for planting vegetables. Although I learned that anything that wasn’t a vegetable or a cultivated flower didn’t belong in the garden, I was always curious as to what some of these plants might become if allowed to grow.
In 2020 I found out. Between the pandemic and caretaking my elderly mom, I didn’t have time to plant (or weed) a full garden that year. The clover, which always used to end up in the weed pile, grew to an exceptional size which delighted the bumblebees that visited the garden.
I vowed to never pull it up again and it is now a permanent resident of the vegetable garden.
Red clover (trifolium pratense L.) is one of the true clovers, a herbaceous species of flowering plant in the legume family. Native to Europe and Western Asia. Red clover is a good pollen and nectar source for bumblebees. It is a nitrogen-fixing plant and is often grown as a cover crop to improve soil fertility.