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things 17-18
spring 2004
Four leaves left
On collecting clover
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Carly Svamvour
Pot of Clover

OK - I have to admit it, I don't really know the exact species of this clover. The flowers are about the size of marbles, and are formed like clusters of silken fingernails. They are mostly white with shreds of dark pink.

So what am I doing with a pot of clover? Being obsessive? Yes! I'll admit to that too.

In the early summer of 2002, I was walking out of High Park, here in Toronto, Canada. I was attracted to the pretty leaves of a couple of stems that had come uprooted and been left on the roadside. Being the kind that likes to try to cultivate wild things, I took the two sprigs home. Usually, I fail with these experiments, but with this I did not.

I poked the two sprigs into the soil of my geranium. A couple of days later, I had a few more stems. I gave it a little pot of its own. When the buds emerged, I could see it was some kind of clover. In Autumn, I put it in fresh soil and brought it in with my other plants. Over the course of the winter, I nursed it along in the window sill. I trimmed its leaves as they browned.I gave it water every Sunday when I did my other window plants. As spring neared, it began to droop halfway through the week. I started watering it twice a week - Sundays and Wednesdays. If I forgot the water, it would droop, and I knew it was pouting. As soon as I watered, it picked up again.

By late winter it was a good four inches tall. By the time I was ready to put my plants outside for the summer (around the first week in June), it was a foot tall. It's still out there on the picnic table and I think it's planning to become a tree.

It's easy stuff to grow; I have been watching this pot of clover growing for over a year. Not once did it stop making new shoots in the middle. Most plants stop making new leaves for a period of time but not my clover.

I have since learned that there are several types of clover. A lot of that stuff that grows in the scrub on the sides of walkways or in the grass if it's not weeded, is clover.

Clover - common name for any plant belonging to the genus Trifolium. The family is Fabacae. (Legume). There are about 240 species! Most are native to the north and subtropics. Some just trail along the ground and some can grow as tall as a yard. (That's what I learned from Encarta's electronic dictionary.) This is a good site I found - it's for farming really, but it's interesting to look at the many examples of clover.

A couple of days ago I started some of the stuff that has those tiny little leaves. That's easy enough to get; it grows everywhere, even in the cracks of the sidewalk. By the end of this growing season, I hope to have at least four different kinds of clover sitting on my windowsill. People have collected worse things, I guess. Wish me luck - maybe I'll get a four-leaf one day.


Carly Svamvour is a writer living in Toronto, Canada. Her work appears online and in publications in Canada and the U. S. She is presently working on her short stories, articles and poems. She hosts the Wild City Writers' Workshop, an online offshoot of Wild City Times.

things 17, Spring 2004

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