NZ Gardener - - THE GOOD LIFE -

Some plants ex­ceed all ex­pec­ta­tions.

When I chucked a bulk packet of crim­son clover ( Tri­folium in­car­na­tum) seed over a ploughed up patch of vir­gin soil in our meadow pad­dock last sum­mer, I had no idea it would prove to be this sea­son’s wow-fac­tor plant.

I sourced seed from Kings Seeds, who de­scribe Tri­folium in­car­na­tum as a “mul­ti­pur­pose ni­tro­gen fix­ing legume and ben­e­fi­cial in­sect plant. Sow late sum­mer for rapid bulky up­right growth. It goes dor­mant in the cold of win­ter be­fore resuming growth in spring, grow­ing up to 1m high and sport­ing a strik­ing crim­son bloom in sum­mer.“

Be­cause crim­son clover is tra­di­tion­ally used as cover or green ma­nure crop, the Kings Seeds cat­a­logue rec­om­mends ei­ther chop­ping and dig­ging in prior to flow­er­ing, or leav­ing it as “a valu­able nec­tar-rich food sup­ply for bees and ben­e­fi­cial in­sects.“

I say take the sec­ond op­tion! Don’t chop and dig be­cause it’s ab­so­lutely fan­tas­tic in flower, with 5-6cm long, blood red, bunny tail-shaped flow­ers that stand bolt up­right and de­mand your at­ten­tion. I’ve been pick­ing it by the bas­ket­ful and even though it wilts a lit­tle on cut­ting, as soon as it hits the vase it im­me­di­ately perks back up and stays look­ing fresh for up to a week.

I want to sow an en­tire pad­dock next!

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