There's nothing new going on here at the moment -- believe me, I tried to find something better than this to talk about1 -- so I thought this might be a good moment to ask a question that's been rattling around in my head for a couple years instead.
Why do people not deliberately cultivate red clover (Trifolium pratense) in their gardens?
I mean, yeah, I get that it's weedy and would tend to take over, given enough time, but gardeners overlook that in other plants, so it doesn't seem like that would be enough to disqualify it. And rabbits like it, but again -- that doesn't stop anybody from growing lots of other stuff. And it has good points. The flowers are pleasant, and numerous,
and even mildly fragrant. Bees love them. They improve the nitrogen content of the soil. There's a medicinal use for them.2 The plants quickly reach a mature height of about two feet tall and then stop getting taller, which seems to me like it should be a good quality for an outdoor plant.
So I'm just wondering. Last year, I let a couple grow in the Portulaca bed, and that seemed to work out fine for me,3 so I'm just wondering why nobody else does it. I assume there's a reason. Or several.
2 I'm not generally that impressed by claims that a garden plant can be used medicinally, because I really kinda feel like people are better off not gambling with self-administering unproven chemicals they don't really understand, at an unknown dose, with no supervision by a medical professional, but some people consider it a point in a plant's favor if it's "useful" for something, so that seems like it should be a point in favor of deliberate cultivation.
3 Didn't this year, because they were getting so big so early that they threatened to shade out the reseeded Portulaca grandiflora before it even had a chance to germinate. And yes, that means I've had a lot of seedlings to pull up. But the Trifolium is a much easier weed problem to deal with than, say, dandelions, maple tree seedlings, Oxalis, lamb's quarters, or crabgrass. If not for the Portulaca, I would have been perfectly happy to let the clover have the bed this year.