I Surrender To The Beauty Of The Dandelion
I moved from a house to a condo this year. I haven't had to mow a lawn once in 2013. I haven't had to pull a weed. I hate weeds - really, really hate them. With the extra time I have in the condo, time previously spent in my garden or maintaining all the little projects with house ownership, I have pondered the war I waged and lost with weeds and dandelions.
I've always been environmentally respectful. I didn't use week killer for the dandelions on the lawn. I'd pluck them out with my garden claw, smartly choosing to do so after a rain so the Gordon Head clay would give me an extra inch of root. But no matter what you do, it is a losing battle. So please join in raising the white flag. You win, dandelion - well played.
It will feel very rewarding when you finally give up on the already lost battle. No more chemicals sprinkled around like fairy dust on your immaculately coiffed green pelt, trickling into our streams and oceans, tracked inside on your pets' paws (to be licked off later), no more inhaling the toxic fumes. Studies are underway worldwide looking at the harmful effects of our common weedkillers - harmful to humans, pets, marine life, and more. So why do we do it? Is a perfect lawn that necessary? Shouldn't we grow a vegetable garden instead? Look at what Switzerland is doing...
Makes me hungry just looking at it. Having a sustaining vegetable and fresh fruit garden is much more rewarding than a perfect lawn anyday. And it will stop you from wasting fertilizer, gas, time, poisons, and energy on a useless patch of grass.
Remember when we were kids and dandelions were considered flowers, playfully plucked from someone's imperfect lawn and handed to your mother as a doting gift? And how she would clutch those dandelions like you had just given her a dozen roses? Why can't we find them beautiful now?
From this moment forward, I'm making the mental decision to consider dandelions beautiful. They are starting to come out in blankets among the high grasses of Beacon Hill park and they do look as nice as the early spring wildlowers. I may even start picking them up and blowing the dry seeds around like bubbles again, just for the hell of it (and to spread the seeds around until it makes more people raise the white flag).
Not only are they beautiful, they are nutritious. Now, I've never eaten one. I've had a chamomile tea with a dandelion component. But there is a lot of data documenting their abundance in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Not only should we find them beautiful, we should find them delicious! Here's a good article on eating dandelions. http://www.care2.com/greenliving/eating-dandelions.html
Wrapping up, how about I leave you with an incredibly beautiful photo. Have a great summer, everyone. Don't sweat the small stuff, like dandelions.