I have a love / hate relationship with dandelions. I love the bright color. I hate trying to keep them under control in our lawn.
But it wasn’t always that way. When I was a pig-tailed toddler, I truly LOVED dandelions – and picked bouquets of those pretty yellow flowers to give to my Mama who put them in a vase (drinking glass). The photo above is one of the favorites from my wood-covered childhood scrapbook. My spinster great aunt Augusta Larsen (Aunt Dot) gave scrapbooks like this to all the grandnieces and grandnephews as baby presents.
But as an adult, I believed it was my civic duty to maintain a well-mowed and dandelion-free (well, mostly) lawn. I’d use my little dandelion digger and dig up grocery bags full of the hardy weeds. (I'm not keen on herbicides.) And I grew to HATE dandelions….until recently.
While visiting in New Hampshire my daughter-in-law Carrie’s paternal Aunt Barbara declared that we need to keep some dandelions near our gardens because they attract bees, and we need bees to spread pollen. Now Aunt Barbara is a wise woman who loves children and animals. She has a bird friendly yard and a very nice flower garden and a lawn with kid-friendly "climbing trees".
And her wisdom is not just "an uncommon degree of common sense" (Dean Inge). She taught Anatomy at Harvard to premed students. So I’m pretty sure her bees/pollen theory is scientifically sound and supported by empirical evidence.
On the advice of Aunt Barbara, I’ve decided it is my environmental duty to be a little less obsessive about eradicating dandelions for the sake of the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees. Hmmm – that reminds me of a song from my youth. Jewel Akens. The Birds and the Bees. Probably not a chart topper, but a catchy little tune. The old crooner Dean Martin also recorded it. You can find both versions on www.youtube.com. I’ll sign off on that happy note.
LeAnn aka pasqueflower