Making the world a better place!
We first acquired Stately Blaska Manor and the Experimental Work Farm 30 years ago via force of arms.
The previous overseers mowed from fence to fence, right up to the manor house. Only years later did the Head Groundskeeper discover that, in one of those mowings, the machine collided with the clothes drier vent, bending shut the delicate outflow gate. That forced hot humid air up inside the wall. No wonder the paint peeled on that corner of the house.
For a time, new management continued the coast-to-coast mowings but soon tired of spitting out pine cones. That area was allowed to go native. Today it explodes in purple and white dames rockets. (God planted them, we didn’t.) Emboldened by such success, a rented edging machine carved out sinuous borders reinforced with black edging. Holds the lawn back from ninebark shrubs and hostas. An island in the stream of green hosts the tower of power, festooned with antique green-glass power line insulators. It arises from a stand of monarda and (depending on the will o’ the wisp) hollyhocks. Clematis crawls up a second, shorter tower.
One year ago, the unlettered field hands (singing Wagner’s Die Walküre whilst they labored) over-seeded the remaining lawn with micro-clover, supplementing the naturally occurring white dutch clover that was already colonizing a year after the last chemical treatment. (“We’re planted in low clover.”) The idea: to out-muscle creeping charlie which, we have heard, was once introduced intentionally — probably to combat white clover.
Problem with charlie is that it invades our gardens and, if left unchecked, likely would enter the house, cover the wide-screen television and smother the old guy watching it. Charlie is Wisconsin’s kudzu. (Should be named the official state lawn pest in the Wisconsin Blue Book.)
Got the clover brainstorm from a neighbor’s lawn. Became enamored of the stand’s delicate white and pink blossoms, like sugar drops on a cake. We appreciate a well-manicured, monoculture lawn but the clover puts us in mind of a peaceful meadow. The Werkes may take on sheep. (Just one. We’ll rent to own at first.) Never mind, we’ve got rabbits.
The Venerable Meade, a professional landscaper, suggested leaving a copse of lawn untouched and allowed to grow to seed — kind of an architectural / horticultural feature. We’re trying that where the clover is thickest, irregular blobs floating on the lawn. More Capability Brown than Louis XIV. A little feng shui (with bamboo shoots.) But admire the geometrical effect the Venerable Meade has accomplished at his own Versailles. (See that photo.)
Like the rough on a golf course, these outbursts of clover can serve as hazards for our game of croquet. Go ahead, walk on it. Clover is resilient. We know the bees will be thankful, anyway.
Blaska’s Bottom-line Scorecard: Now join with the indentured servants, gray lab coats, and unlettered field hands in cheering on Phil Mickelson at today’s PGA tournament. (He wouldn’t be Phil if he didn’t lodge a ball under a golf cart wheel on one hole and pull magic out of his bag on another.) Screw the Gipper. Win one for us old guys!