Such Gaudy Tulips Raised From Dung.

Because the weather is warming and flowers are starting to bloom where I am it’s time for my annual tribute to the humble dandelion. Or the not-so-humble dandelion. It’s hard for me to tell what plants are thinking. Sometimes it’s also hard for me to tell what people are thinking, although most express various degrees of consternation when I express my love of dandelions by blowing seeds everywhere.

Recently a friend said to me, “You know those are weeds, right?”

No, I don’t know. What’s a weed? It’s any plant that grows where you don’t want it.

By that definition I’ve never seen a dandelion I’d call a weed.

16 Comments

  1. M. Firpi

    For me, it’s good to know both: the weeds and the cultivated ones. After all, where would the art of gardening be without cultivated flowers such as roses, irises, lilies, well you name it. Also, many people don’t have access to wildflowers. Many people in cities only see what they can buy in a supermarket. So cultivated flowers do have a purpose I think. Wildflowers, on the other hand are fascinating, and there’s a craze over them since the Monsanto dilemma. Many people speak about wildflower gardens, instead of the usual, ornamental ones. Lots of milkweed being planted for Monarchs now. So I see the good of both sides of the story. I’m not a purist with the “foreign” weed dilemma either. I can accept invasive plants where I live because I live in small island and they cannot simply spread so easily.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      It’s very good to know both, and without cultivation there are many flowers that might have disappeared a long time ago. I used to grow several plants that, while not really cultivated, are facing extinction in the wild because their habitats are being destroyed. And cultivation does foster genetic diversity.
      So I’m like you. I know some people who are very into “native gardening” but I can see a lot of value in planting a wide variety of things–even things that aren’t native to a particular area.

      Reply
  2. Chuck Baudelaire

    Most adorable video EVER. *qlunq*

    I kind of don’t mind lampreys. Nice to see there’s a life form with a worse lot in life than mine. A delicacy in Britain? Fuck, Britain, what the hell?

    While I no longer have a yard to worry about, let it be known that dandelions were always welcome in mine. And lampreys.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Yes, lampreys–jellied no less–are a delicacy in Britain. Although I’ve also gotta give ’em some credit. They’re very sensitive which makes them good indicators of the health of an ecosystem. A few years ago when lampreys were seen in the Thames it meant decades of industrial pollution was actually being reversed.
      So sometimes even I welcome lampreys.

      Reply
  3. Gilly Maddison

    Dandelions grow enthusiastically all over our garden lawn. I love them. The bees love them too. My husband, who is a Dandelion heathen, thinks nothing over mowing straight over them, cutting them down in all their happy yellow glory. When I mow the lawn, I cut round them (and the clover). It takes much longer but the bees love me and the lawn looks brighter.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      My wife is also a Dandelion heathen and tells me not to blow the seeds. So I mow them down after they’ve gone to seed, letting the mower do the spreading for me. They are great for bees and so is clover. That’s reason enough for me to let the dandelions grow.
      I’ve even thought about planting them in pots but my experience with treating weeds as plants is that they don’t do so well.

      Reply
  4. Ann Koplow

    I love to blow dandelion seeds, too, Chris, and all this gives me the inspiration to do so with more impunity. Many thanks to you and your dandy post.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I’m so glad I can encourage you. It occurs to me now that some ideas are like dandelion seeds. The more they get blown around the better we all are.

      Reply
  5. tripping

    Clearly we are kindred spirits. I’ve long loved dandelions and have been known to provide the same definition of weeds.
    Dandelions are so sunny and happy and even when they go to seed they remind us of childhood and making wishes.
    We are in the midst of a blizzard in Toronto so I think it will be awhile before we see any but I look forward to them.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That’s terrible that there’s a blizzard going on right now, but dandelions are something to look forward to. It’s also too bad spring seems to always come in fits and starts with warm weather one day and snow the next, but dandelions refuse to be kept down. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere.

      Reply
  6. Margot

    What a goofy video…I love it! I hadn’t heard of lampreys before. I just googled them and now am anticipating the nightmares. You should find a way to work them into the blog during your October festival of horrors.

    Now that I’ve moved from the country club and no longer live on a golf course, dandelions are welcome in my life again. Phew! It’s no fun to lie down in the grass when you can’t make wishes and blow on dandelions, not to mention the angry golfers and flying golf balls.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      It’s odd that lampreys haven’t already found their way into my October festival because they’re one of the few animals that really give me the jibblies. I’m a guy who’s been known to find a spider crawling up my leg, say, “Oh, genus lycosa” and go back to sleep. Lampreys are almost as bad as ferrets, which, to me, are like big furry lampreys. Now there’s some nightmare fuel for you.
      Although having to deal with flying golf balls sounds pretty frightening too.

      Reply
  7. mydangblog

    My world would be almost perfect if dandelions were blue instead of that obnoxious shade of yellow. But the leaves are great in salad!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Okay, blue would be amazing, and the leaves are very tasty. From my Boy Scout days I also know the flowers are good fried. Then again everything’s better fried.

      Reply
  8. Sandra

    So it’s safe to say you aren’t the guy going around with a squirt bottle full of poison spraying everything that low to the ground and blows in the breeze.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Yeah, I’m out there blowing dandelion seeds everywhere. And spreading other weeds. I have neighbors who’ve carefully cultivated their lawns into carpets composed of a single type of grass. I prefer something more eclectic. And if my weeds get into their grass–well, that’s just nature.

      Reply

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