(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 yard Scott’s-free, full of cheerful violets, pithy inedible strawberries, tiny white-flowered onions, and that king of the interlopers–dandelions. Damnedelions!
I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with dandelions: love the flowers, hate the 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 (a hit and a 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 orangey-yellow pseudo-daisies my yard is currently full of; and those magical puff-balls which every child knows are used as public transportation by faeries. Wrong! It turns out they’re the same plant. After those cute flowers wilt and turn ugly, the seeds gather into a sphere called a “clock.” Here’s a cool time-exposure video of the process:
How like us dandelions are, organizing themselves around clocks, terrified of being uprooted…
Dandelions are human weeds.
Created to live for a season,
then die beyond themselves,
instead they push into the soil
and flatten themselves against the earth,
huddling beneath the mowings of time.
They strive to invent a purpose of their own,
borrowing their color from the sun.
And when the sun takes it back,
they send their progeny into the wind,
saying, “Remember me, remember me,”
hoping to gain a second-hand immortality,
when something infinitely more beautiful was planned.