I guess I’d better start with a public declaration that I think dandelions are beautiful: fuzzy yellow suns, milky seed-puff moons… I’ll stop there, because I can’t think of anything nice to say about the bald caps and spiky fronds after the seeds have blown.
Those so inclined can eat dandelion greens, and apparently the roots when roasted and ground make a passable substitute for coffee.
In a field, dandelions are so pretty.
Too bad they don’t work so well in residential lawns. When mine grow, I always feel guilty about infecting my neighbours’ properties, like I’m harbouring an invasion force.
We have one of those long, green tools that lets you stand mostly upright and uproot the pesky plants one root at a time. I’ve tried it a few previous springs and given up, but this year I’ve bagged a few buckets-full of dandelions nearly every day.
I have no particular hope of eradicating all the dandelions that have encroached on our lawn over the past 20+ years, but there’s something about this daily activity that soothes me. And it’s an excuse for fresh air.
It’s also an excuse for a blog post.
I don’t think much while I’m on the daily hunt. Sometimes I count the harvest, sometimes I pray, sometimes I talk to the stubborn ones. Listeners would most likely hear me mutter “I can’t get you all, but I can get you.”
My mantra has become “None to seed.” When I’m out of time and there are still plants un-dug, I pick off the dandelion heads.
After a couple weeks of the daily battle, I got thinking how dandelions are a bit like sin. Not necessarily the “evil action” kind of sin where we know we’re doing something wrong and choose to do it anyway, but the “missed God’s best for us” kind where we’ve gotten trapped in patterns of negative thinking, reactions or other behaviour that have really messed us up.
- younger plants are easier to uproot than those that have grown for years
- they produce fewer blossoms too
- one blossom is enough to produce 40 to 100+ seeds (Source: howitworksdaily.com)
- mature plants spread broad leaves and kill the grass near them
- the roots go down a long way and are more likely to break than to come out cleanly
- some plants require multiple grabs with the extractor
- they’re sneaky: they’ll twist their stalks so the blossoms look like they come from somewhere other than the actual root
- they’ll lie down until the mower is put away, then stand up defiant and straight
- the plants will slip off my tool en route to the bucket
- the blossoms will break off and fall out of the bucket, often face-down, to hide until they can turn into seeds
- yellow blossoms will go to seed once they’ve opened, so don’t compost them
- pulling them out leaves holes in the ground, and if there’s a big patch it’s unsightly
- bald patches must be re-seeded with grass or more dandelions or other weeds will return (remember Jesus’ warning about the evil spirit and the clean house in Luke 11:24-26)
- the worse the infestation (usually the longer it’s been growing) the longer it takes to fix
- looking at the scope of the problem leads to discouragement and defeat
- a little work each day will bring results
- picking the heads off (=cheating or at least a short-cut) is better than letting them bloom and spread their seeds
- they’re heavy – putting too many in my organics bin for pickup will make it too heavy for the workers
Dandelion season has passed its peak, and I think I’ll make it with none to seed. Yes, I may celebrate by baking my family a cake.