Clover

moon phase Week of 07/06/2003 Favorable days to plant flowers

There's a patch of clover that blooms in the grass, where the roadside mower didn't mow. I'm always impressed at how many insects visit the pink flowers. It's a good place to watch butterflies and bees as they gather nectar from the sweet clover blossoms. You never know what you might see feeding here so I always stop for a closer look.

Clover

This summer I've been seeing more honeybees, after not seeing hardly any the past several years. It's good to see them busy at work pollinating the clover blossoms. I wanted to see which way they flew when they had collected enough nectar and pollen to take back to their hive. I gave up after watching several simply fly straight up and out of sight. The honeybees' cache of honey could be a mile or more away in another valley. Anyway, it's good to see them around helping nature produce more flowers.

The clover provides food for all kinds of insects, from ants to grasshoppers and butterflies to bees and beetles, all of them helping to spread the pollen from blossom to blossom.

A pair of swallows fly low over the bed of purple flowers and catch unsuspecting insects form the air. A bluebird flies from his perch and drops down to a clover blossom and snatches up a fat grasshopper. Them, he quickly carries his prey back to his waiting babies inside the bluebird house. There are lots of hungry new mouths to feed this time of the year and most all of the wild birds take advantage of the insects they find on the clover blossoms. The insects, while searching for food, sometimes become the food.

The patch of clover is a good place to see other forms of wildlife. The cotton-tailed rabbits visit the clover early each morning for a bit of breakfast. They can't resist nibbling the leaves, stem and the purple flowers.

In the evening, a woodchuck takes his turn in the clover before he retires to his den for the night.

The turkeys too fill their crops with clover blossoms before flying up into the large oak trees to roost until morning.

Just before dark, a doe and her two spotted fawns come out of their day-time hiding place and trot across the road to the clover patch. The month old fawns are still getting milk from their mother and don't eat as greedily as mom. As the fawns get older, they will remember the places where the doe brought them. They will remember the sweet scent and taste of the clover.

If you would like to extend your knowledge of insects, a good place to start is by walking through a field of clover when it is in bloom. You never know what you might see. Who knows you might even find that elusive four-leafed clover, if you're lucky.

Can you find these colorful insects among the clover blossoms? Grasshopper, bumblebee, fritillary, silver-spotted skipper, ant, ladybug and honeybee.

It's summer and time to see the insects that will be only memories after the first hard frost in October, so enjoy them while you can.

All art ©2013 Organic Valley

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