(Time-lapse video below)
It’s spring. Start your mowers.
Thanks to those croquet-mad Victorians and a voracious lawn care industry, millions slavishly strive to maintain yards full of thick virginal grass–and nothing else!
Good luck with that.
I’m no purist. I like my Scott’s-free yard full of cheerful violets, pithy inedible strawberries, tiny white-flowered onions, and that king of interlopers–dandelions.
I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with dandelions: love the flowers, hate their ugly, jaggy, ground-hugging leaves. Which, it turns out, are the source of the plant’s name–dandelion means “lion’s teeth” in French. In fact, it turns out we have the French to thank for introducing dandelions, along with bikinis and snails (one hit and one miss). Early European settlers made salads out of dandelions and brewed “coffee” from their seeds.
I always thought there were two types of dandelions: those happy little pseudo-daisies my yard is currently full of; and those magical puff-balls which every child knows are used as public transportation by faeries. But I was wrong. It turns out they’re the same plant. After those cute little flowers wilt and turn ugly, the seeds gather into a sphere called a “clock.” Here’s a cool time-exposure video of the process: