I mentioned a few posts back that I wasn’t sure why anyone would consider dandelions as weeds or why dandelions could even make some people cranky. I said that I find them lovely and that I find it sweet that dandelions promise a wish come true with a successful blow of all its white floaties, aka the seed parachutes.
When I was a little girl, I lived every now and then in a family house in Perth and we had a big garden there (every house seemed to have one, it was such freedom to be able to run around so much, navigating my way through apple, Macadamia and orange trees, grape vines and the many many flowers we had growing everywhere). I remember waking up every day and going straight to the garden to clear up fallen leaves or pluck out dandelions from the ground — these were the only two things I could physically accomplish.
Sometimes, I get really playful and start blowing the dandelion seeds wherever the wind would take them and my father would scold me for doing so because the dandelions would spread, I didn’t understand the problem. In my opinion, they were not weeds, and they were not something to destroy. They were pretty flowers (they’re bright happy yellow for goodness’ sake!) that appeared every spring through no effort of my own, and they made me happy. They still do.
A weed is but an unloved flower. ― Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Now, however, I have a stronger argument than “they make me happy” when I defend dandelions. Dandelions can help save the bees. Dandelions are, in fact, the bees’ most important spring flower.
A recent surf on the web led me to discover a link to a piece on Gooserock Farm’s website about what a lazy person can do to help save our endangered bees. One of the easiest things is to not kill the dandelions on Your lawn.
I quote: “Most of the important bee plants in the Northeast are wildflowers. Of these, probably the single most valuable early spring wildflower is the dandelion. Dandelion pollen is moderately nutritious and the nectar is abundant. It gives the bees a huge boost and adds to the health and wellbeing of the hive. So a very simple, easy way to help honey bees is to refrain from killing the dandelions in your lawn. They’re actually quite pretty. Do you really have to have that perfect, manicured, chemical-laden lawn?”
This was one of the better articles I’ve come across. Perhaps You might fancy a read. 🙂
My lawn was way past being awashed with the bright yellow flowers of dandelion plants — there were only dandelion clocks to be seen. But trust me when I say that dandelions brighten the early spring landscape. I’ve seen it. Together with the carpets of bluets that flower at the same time, dandelions turn otherwise uninspiring expanses of lawn into mosaics of colour and texture.
As the Germans would say it, “Traumhaft“.
Not only for the bees or beetles or birds, but the presence of dandelions in a lawn increases plant diversity by at least one species, insect diversity by the number of different nectar and pollen feeders, and other wildlife species diversity, including birds, through the absence of toxic chemicals.
When I stood up to walk back to the car where my parents were waiting for me, I got a shock when I made sense of what I saw before me. What was once a tree flourishing with the brightest, cheeriest yellow blooms, was then only covered with wrinkly, dying flowers.
The thought of life’s fragility plagued me for the entire car ride back to Munich that day. What a wave of frost did to the flowers could be likened to what a period of illness or a stroke of bad luck could do to a person. We could be here one second and gone in the next.
We’re not immortal.
I hold on to one of James Dean’s quotes very close to my heart and during such moments, more so than ever.
Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today. — James Dean