June is the froth of white and yellow sweet clover, the tall and bushy melilot along the country roadsides and in the broad and sunny fields. Melilot is fragrant from the moment the leaves grow in spring to the time, well past its bloom, when the old stalks stand drying in the sun. And the clover hay in the barn is sweet with the memories of June.
Melilotus alba Desr.
June - July Fields, roadsides.
June is a clover field - June is all the creatures which live or find their living in and under and over a clover field. It is the dickcissel clacking all day from a melilot head, and swooping to the nest of pale blue eggs hidden on the ground among clover plants. It is the meadowlark nesting at the edge of the field: it is bob-whites finding insects there, and the grey spermophile which comes streaking in a streamlined journey between cars, across the highway and into the shelter and anonymity of the clover.
June is a clover field, and it is the perfume and character of clover, and the long roots which the plaids send into the soil. It is the silent, unseen activity of the microscopic bacteria on clover roots, at work in the soil to make nitrogen to enrich the land.
For the June clover field is not all beauty. It is a vast chemical laboratory. It is a crop which does not tear down the soil nor deplete it of its nutrients. Instead, the clover continually adds the beneficial nitrogen which will feed the crops that follow clover in a wisely rotated program. Nitrogen is part of all living tissue, and it is the Legumes which, of all known plants or animals, are able to produce it by means of the partnership of nitrogen-fixing bacteria on the roots.