(Time-lapse video below
It’s spring! Sort of. Actually, we’re still in Sprinter where I live, so it’s snow shovels one day and flip-flops and shades the next. But the dandelions can’t be fooled. Fake-daisy-delions are popping up all over our yard, even amid the patches of snow.
Why should it matter? They’re kind of cute, and many people–who don’t have lawns to mow–love them. But thanks to those croquet-mad Victorians and a voracious lawn care industry, millions of lawn-owners 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 and pithy inedible strawberries. But those tiny white-flowered onions and the king of all interlopers–the dandelions–I can live without. So I crawl around on my hands and knees every spring, pulling up flowers before they can seed a thousand more of their brethren. Hence the title of this post:
Why? I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with dandelions: Love the flowers, but hate the forest of bare poles that remains after the pods fly away, and 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, we North Americans have the French to thank for introducing dandelions, along with bikinis and snails (one hit and one miss). Early settlers here made salads out of dandelions and brewed “coffee” from their seeds.
I always thought there were two types of dandelions: the happy little pseudo-daisies and the magical puff-balls 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 yellow flowers wilt and turn ugly, the seeds gather into a sphere called a “clock.” There’s a cool time-exposure video of the process below.
Anyway, love ’em or hate ’em, they’re tenacious invaders. Kinda like humans.