White clover. Growing all by its lonesome, without human intervention.
This is good news – though technically it's further evidence of my lawn care company's ineffectiveness. Read on.
I have learned some crazy things during this organic lawn experiment. The strangest – why everybody's lawn had trifolium repens when I was a kid and now almost nobody's does.
For generations, clover was considered a lawn crop. In fact – decades ago, clover seeds were included in lawn grass seed mix. It's attractive. It mows well, it thrives just about everywhere, it stays green in all kinds of conditions – and it's one of those special plants that pulls nitrogen out of the air and puts it into the soil: nature's fertilizer factory.
Then, in the 1950s, the chemical industry started looking for a commercial market for the toxins they developed during WWII. 2,4,D is what started the 'weed & feed' revolution. The Agent Orange of its day, it was developed to kill vegetation on overseas battlegrounds. After the war, the manufacturers saw a huge market opportunity in farming and turfgrass. It was the first known chemical that would kill broadleaf plants (non-grass) and leave the grass pretty much alone.
One problem: it killed clover, a traditional turf crop. Solution: launch a propaganda blitz to convince the turf-growing public that clover is a "weed," to be eradicated along with the dandelions and chickweed. And the steadfast servant started disappearing from American lawns.
Here's the cool part – organic grass farmers like me know it's not a weed. We scoff at the system – we're revolutionaries, crazy enough to actually plant clover in our yards. At $10 a pound, clover seed ain't cheap, but it's germinating on my lawn as I type this (you mix it into your grass seed by the tablespoon, so a little goes a long way.)
Hee hee ... it's just one more way to thumb our collective nose at the agri-chem industry. There's some out there growing wild and – with any luck – there's going to be even more come spring.
Clover. My small protest. My subversion. My audacity of hope.