Dandy Lions

yellow dandelion flower

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 It’s an outdated reputation and it’s time to rethink the dandelion.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.

8 thoughts on “Dandy Lions”

  1. The key to dandy lions and keeping them under control is a healthy lawn. seed and fertilize in the fall and spring, water once a week providing a deep soaking and the grass will squeeze the dandy lions and other weeds out. Plant milk weed to attract butterflies.

  2. Yeah to a fellow dandelion supporter! I live in a condo where everyone wants a pristine lawn and several residents can’t wait for the landscape crew to do their job and grumble continually about the presence of dandelions. Me, I chose a condo to avoid yard work (except my flowerbed out front and patio pots) so I’ve made peace with the dandelions.

  3. It’s funny you bring this up – where Rob and I are staying (a desert city) the little front and back yards have artificial grass. It’s just lovely. No watering in a parched area (seen pictures of the rings on Lake Mead lately?), no weeding, feeding, or mowing. I’m a big fan. In fact in some parched parts those who water their lawns are known by some as “grassholes”. Where water is at such a paucity, one understands that epithet.

    1. Erin, I am adding “grassholes” to my vocabulary. Love it. Much better than “lawn Nazis.” Thank you!

  4. I say “Yes!” to not watering lawns so much. I like the British model of letting large swaths of a lawn go back to meadow, cutting it only once or twice a year. Great for biodiversity
    and the environment. My dad came from a family of farmers and was a big fan of clover. He always said if it was green, leave it alone. He hated yard work.😄

  5. I am on a Forage group and they refuse to post pristine lawns and let us know how much better for the bees and birds it is to be natural. So many “weeds” are medicinal and he can be consumed. This might be good information for the future, the more we grow the better we can self sustain if needed My neighbor will die first, no blade of grass out of place. He probably hates us.

  6. Claire Cascone

    I love dandelions! I’m wondering if your neighbour who dug them out was Italian per chance? Every summer, no matter where my mom was going, she always carried a little knife and a shopping bag in her purse. As she walked, she would bend to dig out the dandelions until her bag was full. As soon as she got home, they were washed and cooked. She even saved the water and added some sugar and lemon to it. It was considered a summer treat in our house. I still, to this day, pick them in our yard. They are one of my favourite foods. Besides the fact that they have pollen and nectar for the bees, they are so amazing for your soil. The roots loosen compact soil, their leaves add calcium, or if the soil is too acidic, dandelions take care of that as well.

    1. No, he was definitely just killing them. But what a wonderful story about your mom! Thanks for sharing it, Claire.

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