Swans and Clover

From one year to the next you always see something different here. The year Goldilocks was born I saw kingfishers all the time and yet now I feel privileged to spot them occasionally – I’m still not sure if this was because she wasn’t the easiest baby in the world to get to sleep and I tramped endlessly with her up and down the towpath.  Then there was the autumn of the herons, making statues of themselves all along the canal.  This year we have swans.  I must say it makes washing up all the more pleasant as I can watch them swanning around (like swans do I suppose) from the kitchen window.  This pair of swans don’t strike me as particularly wild.  They seem to have worked out that if they hang around the right end of a boat someone will come out and feed them breakfast.  They can’t even seem bothered to hiss at Willow as we walk past, which strikes me as unusual for swans.  I took this picture whild a little girl who was out fishing with her grandad fed them bread and bait.

When I looked at this picture later I realised I’d been adding to the blurry line between wild and domesticated.  I’m pretty certain that what passes for ‘grass’ around here is more than 50% clover, the stuff, both red and white is everywhere.  Despite this wild bounty,  I found myself last weekend sowing bought clover seed into bare patches of soil among the vegetables.   It is true it was left over seed which Granny Goo gave to me.  She had sown it on a large patch on her allotment where potatoes had grown previously.  I expect the clover to feel quite at home on my soil and I also expect it to fix lots of nitrogen into the soil at the same time as protecting it from erosion.  My compost isn’t quite ready yet to do the autumn mulch and I’m sure in the meantime the clover will do a good job of preserving and adding to soil health.  Even if you haven’t got any bare patches yet (are you looking at it or eating it?) sowing green manures inbetween crops is also beneficial, especially to brassicas if you’re using a nitrogen fixer like clover.  Not only does it surpress weeds but apparently it will reduce risks from pests and disease.  Time to go wild on the plot!

What's for breakfast?

 For more about birds and birdwatching at Sustainable Living Project why don’t you check out our post on the bird box camera?

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2 comments to Swans and Clover

  • Clover is great stuff – for the soil, and as forage for bees! And it’s pretty, and if there is enough of it it fills the air with a gorgeous scent. The fact that it’s a wild native but can also be used in gardening is the cherry on the cake.

  • goo

    You’re so right! :-) I must admit right now at seedling stage the patch just looks very ‘weedy’ but I’m hoping there is time for flowering before winter sets in.

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