Imagine a world where a weed killer manufacturer sits in his lair, musing about ways to take over the world. Think of an evil genius like Gru, the head of the minions.
He launches a media blitz to proclaim that dandelions are evil weeds and must be eradicated! And only HE has the formula that will save North America’s lawns from this evil scourge!
A little dramatic? Perhaps. But dandelions aren’t as bad as we’ve been led to believe. For goodness sake, our former neighbour would go out with a butter knife and dig them out one by one. Maybe he was bored. But it was a lot of effort and hatred for the yellow flower.
Dandelions used to be considered an invasive species. But now their invasion is complete. They’re in every province and state. , their invasion is complete! It’s an outdated reputation and it’s time to rethink the dandelion.
I used to be a dandelion killer/remover/loather. My favourite tool was the step-on root puller and I loved the satisfaction of seeing an entire footlong root coming out of the soil intact. Finally, I had to cry “uncle” when they defeated me. Then we moved to the country where it was impossible to keep weeds out of two-thirds of an acre. So, I learned to love the dandelion.
The Plant’s Positives
If one gets past the “weed” legacy, dandelions are pretty. I’ve come to appreciate a field of their yellow flowers.
Besides wine and tea, dandelions feed pollinators. Not a lot of other flowers come up early in the spring. The dependable dandelion does and the bees and butterflies appreciate it. Insects love its nectar and little critters eat its leaves and roots. In fact, the entire plant is safe for us to eat.
And remember when we were kids, innocently blowing dandelion seeds? A friend would rub a dandelion flower under your chin and if your skin turned yellow, you liked butter. Spoiler: Everybody liked butter.
We are seeding and feeding our lawn for the season. Grubs almost ruined it so we’ve had a grub guy out. I plan to plant flowers in one raised garden bed and vegetables in the other. We are even talking about getting artificial turf for what little is left of our back yard, after the gazebo and shed were erected.
Dandelions, should they come, will find a home here. When they go to seed I might remove the heads to protect my less dandelion-friendly neighbours from them. But otherwise, I’ll watch for bees and butterflies and maybe find out whether I still like butter.