April 17, 2010

Dragon's Blood

I buy wine by the label on the bottle.  If it has a cute name or an interesting sketch or elegant design, it goes in my cart, regardless of the quality, vintage, appellation, or what it's supposed to be paired with.  I'm such a rube when it comes to wine.

Then I discovered the same thing was happening when I buy plants.  If it has a funky cultivar name, it's in my basket.  I'll buy anything with a great name.  So far I've resisted hydrangea 'Pinky Winky' (really, I don't know how), but I succumbed long ago to Trifolium repens 'Dragon's Blood'.

Trifolium (three-leaved) repens (creeping) ... yes, it's what you think.  It's clover.  I actually bought and planted clover.

Because it said Dragon's Blood, I fell for a vision of brave knights and pitched battles with green monsters suffering deep red wounds.  I thought the markings would be wine red and bold.

It's not the wild spreading white clover in your lawn.  But it does spread, and it does have the funny white flower mops that the bees love, and that are just the happiest looking bobs of white you could imagine.  But the real garden feature is supposed to be the maroon markings on each leaf.

There's a wonderful description of it here, at Paghat's Garden with a picture that shows really striking wine colored markings.  Mine seems much more delicately striped, and some leaves are not marked at all.  Maybe my dragons don't have such furious battles.  We're pretty polite up here in New England, and our knights are highly chivalrous and reserved.  There's not so much dragon's blood spilling on fields of green here .

It is creeping in among the Sedum 'Angelina' and I love how the tiny blue-green clover is advancing through a forest of mini golden conifers.

They are spreading along the walk to the cabin.
The homesteader needs to keep after the clover to make sure it doesn't overtake the pea gravel in the walk.  (Not to mention the spreading lambs ear behind the cabin and the  groundcover sedum.  It's a constant battle for him to keep the advancing wilderness from retaking his cabin clearing.)  I'll help with weeding ... really, once I got past the idea of planting clover as an ornamental, I easily accepted having to weed it from the gravel.

A note to vintners: if you bottle a red wine, and put a picture of a dragon on the label I will buy it.
Dragon wine holder for sale here.

Three Knights cabernet (label above) from Bronco Wine Co., the people who make Trader Joe's Three Buck Chuck.  
See, I do know something about fine wines.


  1. I do the same thing with wine labels...Fat Bastard is actually quite tasty...but I haven't been pulled into the same habit with plants. I did try twice to grow heather in Heather's Garden, but I killed them both. Love the cabin, especially the little bench!

  2. Dear Laurrie, Does it not perhaps occur to you that you may, just possibly, have been a little rash in your choice of this particular knight? This pleasant combination of Sedum and Trifolium today, may be all out war tomorrow and, when the clover has shed all of its blood, as it will, mark my words, you will simply be left in the border with what we all hope to eradicate from the lawn.

  3. Heather, I love the idea of having heather in Heather's garden! Alas, I too had failed results growing heather here.

    Edith, it's always a challenge with groundcovers; you want them to spread quickly to cover bare ground, but then you want them to stop! I actually like clover in the lawn... good for fixing nitrogen and it stays green in our hot summers. I've even grown clover in containers where it's kind of cute. We'll see about this knight's tendencies!

  4. Yes, I love the look of the clover in and amongst the sedum.

    That was an amusing story of how you pick your plants.

  5. Fern, thanks for coming by to admire my clover!

  6. If there is the slightest bit of white clover found in my garden - its out and into the compost bin within a matter of seconds. Those creeping stems are just dreadful - and I dread seeing them in my lawn as I have to get down and find all the creeping stems and get rid of them. It might be ornamental but for me its an ornamental weed.

  7. I about cracked up reading this. I too buy wine by the label. I am a sucker for birds. As to plants, if they have an unusual color of leaf they seem to migrate home with me or if they have someones name that I know they will find a space in the garden. I like the homestead.

  8. leavesnbloom, one gardener's treasure is another's weed, that's for sure!

    Lisa, we would both be fertile ground for a marketing study on how to sell anything.

  9. Laurrie, love the little cabin and bench. My dad did miniature vignettes such as this for the grandkids and they loved it (as did the adults!) :-)

  10. Garden Ms. S, My 2 1/2 year old nephew had fun visiting the cabin and its fairies last summer. Your dad was cool.


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