Nature

Weeding the Garden

dandelion

Grade-A organic

It’s sorta-spring in the Rockies. That means we have both rain and snow. There are bright, warm days and snowy mucky days. Maybe it is finally spring, since we are supposed to be past our first frost-free day, and it’s tornado season already. Our fruit trees bloom, and the snow ruins it, every year.

dandelioinsBut of course, after the moisture, our grass finally turns green, and we have wildflowers sprouting up everywhere. I passed a home nearby and saw a field of grass and beautiful yellow wildflowers. Then I realized that we have some our backyard too. Dandelions are an urban wildflower, after all. Our housing subdivision says that they are weeds, and we must eradicate their growth from the front yard. I find this both difficult and sad. I don’t want to use herbicides that harm the soil, my pets, and the urban wildlife, but I’m not fond of pulling weeds on my hands and knees.

dandelion fluffs

Half their wishes gone, these remind me of spinsters, almost spent.

Why are these flowers designated “weeds” and unwanted? They’re beautiful and nutritious, containing Vitamins A and C, beta-carotene, and calcium. They make good wine and are a folk remedy for cirrhosis, Hepatitis, kidney and urinary tract infections, and gall stones. Recent research shows it to be effective in the basic experiments against leukemia. So why is it vilified? This is a rather arbitrary and capricious decision made by society that values a green uniform lawn. It’s just not natural and is a tremendous waste of resources and time, while the fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides poison our water supplies and urban wildlife.

dandelion plants and flowers

Maybe we should try making dandelion wine this year?

So why do we require green grass lawns? Xenoscaping is growing in population in regions like this that are prone to drought and water shortages. Grass is replaced by pebbles and twiggy shrubs. I think dandelions are thriving on available rain – no need to water it – and it certainly beats a gravel lawn. I vote for making a massive change to embrace the wildflowers. In fact, I’ve seen stores that sell wildflower seeds, for those who want the unkempt wild look in their gardens, but I didn’t see dandelions featured in the mix. Even the wildflower enthusiasts just say “no.”

dandelions

These flowers were naturally ultra-bright.

What other societal norms were arbitrary and capriciously decided years ago and perpetuated through subsequent generations? That only medications manufactured in a pharmacological institution can cure? That beautiful women are thin and big-breasted? That gray hair is not sexy and all the dishes need to match at a formal dinner? That animals don’t have emotions or don’t have a soul just because they don’t speak English and tell you how they feel? Keep thinking; there might be a few dandelions in your life waiting to fondly be called blossoms.

dandelion fluff

6 replies »

  1. My daughter and I always say the same thing! We’ve taken pictures of the prettiest urban wildflowers, from tiny purple ones to dandelions to the teensiest little white blooms. We’ll never understand how or why these plants have been so vilified.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Living in the desert growing up, I learned to enjoy beauty wherever I could find it. It wasn’t always easy.🌵🦂 But hey, a flower is always pretty!

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  2. The last line of your essay says it all: What illogical biases do we have in our mind? Everyone has some, to be sure. It is good to spend some introspective time to think about them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think you are right about the ways of society etc. I usually find myself on the outside …. but rarely wanting to look in. Spent too many years yearning for things I really didn’t want but thought I did.

    Perhaps it’s the pointy jaggedly shape of the dandelion leaves that make it undesirable. I think they are pretty. I spent many childhood Saturday mornings picking a basket of weeds before I could play with friends or go to the Saturday matinee. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Me too! I pulled so many weeds, to which I was allergic. It has made me reluctant to garden- or call a flower a weed! I knew you’d understand…. Do I really want a perfect bridge-club lawn? No. I want something wild and respectful of the native plants.

      Liked by 1 person

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