My Gran liked red clover and I thought of her when I noticed a giant clump growing in my backyard. My red clover is nearly 18 inches tall and the flowers are as big as thistles, the trefoils nearly the size of sycamore leaves. American clover, surprise, surprise, is over-sized.
I remember Gran telling me that when she was young she was sure there had been as much red clover as white growing in fields and ditches. To her, it seemed that the red stuff had nearly disappeared, while the white was everywhere. She wondered why. I began to pay attention after our conversation and, now I’ve mentioned it, perhaps you will too.
Here in the US, the fields are full of white clover at this time of year, but clumps of red are found only occasionally in hedgerows. A Google search reveals that this is because white clover has been intentionally mixed with grass seed. It is good fodder, and provides a robust show of green when feebler grasses fail to grow. White clover thrives in artifically enriched soil, and survives multiple mowings–that’s why we see so much of it in fields.
Red clover, which is Dutch in origin, does not seem to be so well loved by pasture animals, and thus has not been encouraged in the same way by agriculturalists. It may, however, be classified as a herb, not a weed, and is reputed to bring boundless benefit to the menopausal. I welcome it in my garden.