Tuesday, November 16, 2010


All summer long my children bring me dandelions as presents. They wander around our yard (which is a veritable dandelion cornicopia - we like to tell people that we're going to try making dandelion wine - which would make our horrendous looking lawn a 'vinyard'... see.... we're classy) and pick me dandelions and bring them to and insist I put them in water. My windowsill spends it's summer cluttered with shot glasses containing dandelions in various states of death.

Personally I think they are beautiful. They are bright, sunny, hard to kill, and grow, well, like weeds. For me that's a winning combination for my flower garden!

Add to that the fact that they eventually transform into 'wish blossoms' (and since this is them 'going to seed' it conveniently skips the part where you have to do ANY work whatsoever to spread your beautiful flowers - AND you get to share your gift of sunny golden wine-bearing flowers with your neighbors (who's lawn is, lets be honest, pretty boring without any dandelions - all green and lush like that... surely they will be thrilled with your gift!)). (I can't believe I had to end that sentance with 2 parenthesis'... how awkward... almost as awkward as the word parenthesis' which I'm not actually certain is spelled correctly.). Tyler loves 'wish blossoms'. Or at least he did until the wind blew one into his mouth when he was trying to blow on it... now he's not so sure about them.

So... This brings me to my musings...

Dandelions are pretty, their easy to grow, and they are edible (the flowers and greens as salad and the roots for making wine)... so why do they have such a bad rap?

Why do any 'weeds' have a bad rap?

Who decides what plant is a 'weed' and what plants are desirable? Is it based solely on how difficult they are to grow? Like anyone who chooses dandilions over orchids is just copping out in the flower department?

Personally I find a field full of dandelions to be a beautiful thing... my children certainly feel the same way... so at what point did it become so distasteful that we would rather (as a societal whole) soak our yards in toxic chemicals known to cause cancer, just to get rid of a flower almost everyone at one time or another liked (don't try and tell me you didn't love picking dandelions or blowing wish blossoms as a kid)... when did that transition happen?

Dandelions aren't the only flower to get shelved as a 'weed'... What about foxtails? How can foxtails be relegated to the 'weed' category?? Even the name is elegant, nevermind the pretty shimmery pinks and purples....

Plus they are very entertaining to watch when you spray cat nip spray on them and the neighborhood cats attempt to eat them - the 'tail' part is all clingy and scratchy and the cats get all wierd because the catnip makes them crazy but the wierd clingy foxtail makes them even crazier... not that I would know anything about that.

And don't even get me started about clovers... who on earth decided that 3 and 4 leaf clovers are weeds?? We would all be so lucky as to have a lawn full of these precious gems. Everyone knows they attract leprechauns, and really, is there anything more to life than attracting leprechauns?? If you're lucky they will be leprechauns trained in the art of making dandelion wine, and you will be set!

A quick look through the lists of weeds that weedkillers will control is depressing -daisies (that seems like murder!), buttercups, buttercress, stitchwort, the list goes on and is populated mostly by quaint, pretty little flowers... Why decided that a boring, level, green lawn is superior to these treasures??? Oddly I've noticed it's usually the folks who don't actually USE said level, green lawn - but rather just look at it... It seems a sad waste of space.

Not us though - we will happily allow our weedy lawn to go crazy - we welcome the foxgrove, and daisies and dandelions, and laprechauns!

And when our vinyard finally does deliver our leprechaun, I will wish for a paradigm shift in the national obsession with the perfect lawn - perhaps if everyone cared a little more for matters of serious consequence, and a little less about the appearance of their front yard, we might be able to, oh i dont know, deal with some ACTUAL problems our country is facing?

And of course, we could all use a few leprechauns in our life (except the evil kind - but we won't go there - they are afraid of foxtails, so as long as you're following the 'weedful living' lifestyle you don't have to worry about evil leprechauns).

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