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Garden Enemy No. 1
June 7, 2015
I’ve often wondered how and when the every-present dandelion got placed at the top of the gardener’s hate list; after all, it has many positive attributes:
If you want colour in your garden, the dandelion will provide with its bold and unapologetic blooms, all for free!
It requires no cultivating or maintenance. It’s perfectly capable of self-seeding and growing absolutely anywhere … in your lawn, in your flower beds, between the cracks in your paving stones, in the middle of your gravel driveway …
It’s also a potential source of nourishment. You can eat its leaves in a salad, or you sip it as dandelion wine or dandelion root tea.
And, finally, there is the delightful ‘loves-me, loves-me-not’ game you can play blowing out the dandelion clock and, unintentionally, giving Mother Nature a hand by helping disperse dandelion seeds all over the place!
But, of course, like anything we didn’t invite into our gardens, or pay for, the dandelion is considered to be a weed. Today on my daily walk, I looked at the many ‘weeds’ that have invaded my neighbours’ lawns—from daisies to buttercups, Indian paintbrushes to lupines and even moss—and none of them offend nearly as much as the dandelion.
Perhaps it’s because its bloom is so brazen. Like a huge dollop of drizzled mustard it has become a beacon representing property owner neglect; or perhaps it’s because of its fat, fleshy stem that oozes a milky juice when you pluck it; or, most likely of all, it’s because of its broad green leaves and these sprawling clumps—rather like lettuces growing in the lawn—remain long after the bloom has faded throttling everything else around.
Since the Garden of Eden (I wonder, did it have many dandelions in it?), Man has tried to control and manipulate his environment to suit and please himself—be it his need for food, shelter, or aesthetic management—but the ubiquitous dandelion simply refuses to go quietly. It has become a symbol of horticultural defiance, a blooming graffiti on the face of all things manicured and contrived and an indefatigable challenge to all green thumbs.
As I continued on my walk this morning, I also began to think about the ‘dandelion people’ I’ve encountered in my life—you know the type; they blow into your life loudly and boldly sinking their roots deep into your soul and, after they’re spent, all that remains is the mess they left behind … but that’s a topic for another day!