We’re looking over a lawn with clover
If you see an old guy stumbling around the grounds of Stately Blaska Manor, head down, just walk on by (as Dionne Warwick advises). It is only the head groundskeeper inspecting the greenswards surrounding the manse. Last summer he rented a seeder and sowed white clover into the bluegrass, fine fescue, and perennial ryegrass. Just in swaths here and there. It will spread. After a long and lonely winter (happy to report), the clover is doing great. (So is the old guy.)
Not just any clover — micro-clover. The stuff (trifolium repens) is maybe a third the size of tradition dutch white clover. It grows much lower to the ground; plays nice with grass and the existing patches of regular dutch white clover. Same shade of green.
Back in the day, every bag of lawn seed contained white clover and for good reason: biodiversity. Then along came herbicides. Blaska grew up with herbicides. Sprayed plenty of atrazine on corn ground, growing up. Filling the large tank with a high-pressure hose, the clueless farm boy would peer into the seemingly bottomless tank to be met with a geyser of milk-white liquid. Tank’s full, we would spit!
So we’re not opposed to herbicides. But one day last summer the lawn across the street was thick with the dainty pink & white blossoms of white clover and it looked so lovely, as if painted by the random hand of the big Bob Ross in the sky. More Capability Brown than Palace of Versailles.
Clover fixes its own nitrogen. Its deep roots aerate our clay-packed soils. (We do aerate with a machine every fall.) For the same reason, the stuff resists drought. Virtually disease-free. Takes foot traffic. Likes more sun but tolerates some shade. Bees love it. Figure it will crowd out Mr. Creeping Charlie, which tends to smother grass. And little Miss dandelion.
We were enchanted with banks of blue squill in our neighborhood so last fall we buried the tiny bulbs into the front, north-facing and shady lawn — only the white variety. Several websites — including Minnesota University Extension — say Don’t Grow It! It’s Invasive! Well, so is grass! It is what they call “naturalizing.” Duh!
Siberian squill takes shade because they bloom before the trees leaf out. They are March and April visitors and will come through the snow. Hardy up to the Arctic Circle! Their spiky leaves are also the same green as grass. Counting on the squill and clover to fill in the bare spots on the front lawn.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: Nature abhors a monoculture.
Eartheasy is good on micro-clover. https://learn.eartheasy.com/articles/how-to-grow-microclover/ So is Outside Pride. https://www.outsidepride.com/seed/clover-seed/Clover-Seed-Planting-Instructions/ The Spruce has the scoop on squill. https://www.thespruce.com/growing-scilla-siberica-siberian-squill-plants-1402247