Sweet Clover and Other Beautiful Crops

Close-up photo of bright magenta-colored flower head of clover.

On the Theme of Art in Nature and the City

Driving through some of the more challenged parts of my community I observed the grass thriving in some of the blocks where abandoned homes had been taken down. How nice the grass looked as opposed to the decrepit burned out buildings! But then I wondered how much the city spends on mowing grass on these lots and how the grass we plant can be high maintenance.

Close-up photo of bright magenta-colored flower head of clover.
Close-up shot of the flower of red clover in Northern Ireland. © Copyright Albert Bridge and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence. Copyrighted but licensed for use.

I wondered, why doesn’t the city consider alternative cover vegetation that doesn’t take as much TLC? One that may offer a secondary benefit as well. Such as sweet clover.

Photo of field of white clover with bright blue sky with fluffy white clouds.
Field of clover near Upwey, Dorset, Great Britain. © Copyright Miss Steel and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons License.

Bees love it. It doesn’t grow too high. It is hardy and adaptable. And, who knows, you may find a lucky four-leaf clover amongst the vegetation. (Or plant the variety that is four-leafed.)

Or the city could try a field of sunflowers?

A field of yellow sunflowers on a sunny day.
Sunflower Field, Ann Arbor Township, MI.
By Dwight Burdette (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
I’d use a dwarf variety so they are not as susceptible to wind and don’t create a visual impediment to traffic. Sunflowers are very comfortable in dry conditions as well as pretty crummy soil (think of Kansas—no offense, Kansas. Just sayin’).

A sun flower created as a piece of art out of strips of wool.
An example of a sunflower that was created by an artist in Minnesota as a hooked rug creation. For more on rug hooking, see my post on this blog.

Sunflowers are great for birds—or people—who feast on the seeds. And, there is no denying that a field of sunflowers is glorious.

Or a lovely ground cover like thyme or oregano.

Small garden pot of a young oregano plant.
A small pot of oregano grown from seed. It is easy to start and spreads on its own if hardy. “Megan” Flickr photo. “Wild zaatar oregano.” https://www.flickr.com/photos/tofuttibreak/4627017920/ © Copyright Megan, but licensed for non-commercial use with attribution.

Super-easy to plant, these both spread on their own and serve the same purpose as grass to eliminate a dirt plot in the city. Even if you don’t harvest the herb, it provides a great scent if you walk through it or pluck it.

A little variety in the cover crop on vacant lots would get us away from the high maintenance of grass and theoretically be an edible alternative, too. Plus the beautiful artistry in the diversity of plant life, the delicious exotic fragrances from herbs, or the stunning complexity (and mathematical precision) of flowers such as sunflowers, are in themselves significant reasons to consider more diversity to the plantings in the city lots. I’m not suggesting it’s as easy as suggesting an idea and an idea can be implemented. There are a million reasons to continue the status quo.  But, i was just wondering about “what ifs…” when I saw the vacant lots now filled with grass.


About artinthecenter

I am a lifelong artist having studied painting, photography, drawing, and other media, in schools in the US and Italy. I won my first art contest when I was five--at a museum-- and my point of view tends to be as a five-year-old creative child embracing life. Creativity is a core response for me. How can we bring the infinite knowledge and excitement held by our museums and academics into the heart and minds of everyone? There is so much to share. Let’s ask questions, and discuss. Follow me on twitter @janemmason. Check out all sort of artsy information at: www.watchingpaintdry.com +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ This policy is valid from 1 January 2016 This is a personal, educational, blog written and edited by me, Jane M. Mason. For questions about this blog, please contact: jane@watchingpaintdry.com. Sincere effort has been exerted to cite, recognize, and thank all sources of content, including images, quotations or concepts that are not those of Watching Paint Dry LLC (WPDLLC), including Jane M. Mason. If you feel we have included something in this blog that has not been accurately noted or recognized to be from a source other than the intellectual property of WPDLLC, please let me know and I will adjust the citation when presented with specific citation sources and details. As an artist and writer, a core principal of mine is to respect and recognize intellectual content of others. If you are interested in using concepts, photos or other intellectual property from this blog, please contact, Rights Manager, Danielle Raub at Hello@watchingpaintdry.com. This blog does not contain any content that is likely to present a conflict of interest, although opposing points of view, as long as they are respectful, are welcome. This blog does not accept cash or paid topic insertions. However, we will consider accepting and keeping free products, services, travel, event tickets, and other forms of compensation from companies and organizations. The compensation received will not influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. All advertising is in the form of advertisements generated by a third party ad network. Those advertisements will be identified as paid advertisements. The owner of this blog, WPDLLC, is not compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics within the content of this blog. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are those of Jane M. Mason or the associates of WPDLLC. If we claim or appear to be experts on a certain topic or product or service area, we only endorse products or services that we believe, based on our expertise, are worthy of such endorsement. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. This policy has been adapted from DisclosurePolicy.org. For your own policy, go to http://www.disclosurepolicy.org

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