When I was in New York a few weeks ago, I decided to check out the Edible Plants Garden at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. My discovery on that early spring April day: Crimson Red Clover was being used as both a cover crop and an aesthetically beautiful hedge!!
Clover is often planted in late fall as a cover crop to fix nitrogen in the soil and prevent erosion. However, at the botanic garden, they didn’t just plant it as a field. Crimson Clover (Trifolium incarnatum) was planted between the rows of other annual edibles to feed the soil and keep unwanted weeds down. It created these beautiful sweeping green lines between the newly planted cold-tolerant vegetable plugs. In addition, they planted it along the edge of the garden in fall, and in mid- april, it was 18” height. What an incredible alternative to a boxwood hedge! OK, yes yes, I know it is not evergreen, but this was early april and it was already massed out- it grows fast on those early spring days and greens up quick! The mass of clover keeps the vegetable planting looking neat and tidy. I’m going to try this at home and hope someday maybe clover, instead of boxwood, can be all the rage!! -kk