Dandelions

dandelion clocks

I hate dandelions. I can’t think of one thing that’s good about them. They straggle all over our driveway and however hard we try they keep multiplying. Don’t tell me that their leaves are good in salads or tea because we live on a busy road and there is no way I’d eat anything that was grown at the front of my house. Don’t tell me they’re good for the bees as we have many other, prettier flowers that the bees love. Here’s what our front step looked like earlier:

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Actually, it’s not just dandelions I hate. There’s two closely related flowers that also take over our garden. This monstrosity:

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and this one:

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Which looks pretty close up, but which takes over the whole garden if I am not ruthless.

They’re not even rhizomes – if they were I’d have a grudging sort of like for them all – but they’re not. they’re taproots. Ugh – you pull, and pull and pull – and out comes a huge long straggly root. And you know – you just know – that there’s a tiny bit left in the earth that will regenerate. I’ve just spent an hour out in the garden fighting with them (and other weeds, of course) and my back aches, and I know that next time I go out to look at the garden there’ll be more of the little horrors mocking me. I could make an analogy with education, or beliefs … and of course there is a huge difference which could be teased out, but I just wanted to vent today.

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11 Responses to Dandelions

  1. fmindlin says:

    Whoa sister! NOTICE: alert for a serious rant to follow: one of the first and most important lessons I got from my first gardening mentor was to banish the word “weed” from my vocabulary. There is no reason to impose our pejorative viewpoint on the plants which are crucial to the survival of our soil–our one and only earth, baby!–just because of our narrow conceptions of what a “garden” should look like. The plants we are paying the most attention to and cultivating are our cultivars. The other plants growing there are volunteers. We need our volunteers, too, and we need to respect them for what they do. The essence of cultivation is directing our positive attention to the cultivars we select. The volunteers who are crowding them need to be removed, but without malice, and with thanks for the service they provide in the small corners we leave for them or the neighboring spaces where we can’t control them.
    No wars against “invasive” weeds, just gentle and positive attention to our cultivars and respectful redistribution of the spaces allowed for volunteers, with thanks to them for their invaluable service.

    • NomadWarMachine says:

      Hi Fred – thanks for your counter rant 🙂 Trust me, the dandelions are getting plenty of space to grow around here – just not in my flower beds (if I can help it!).

  2. fmindlin says:

    PS–dandelions are also one of our most powerful medicinal plants, a valuable food plant now cultivated for its edible leaves, and a plant which–precisely because of its deep tap root–is excellent for deeply opening compacted earth and (when they die) leaving convenient trails for the worms and microbes and other soil dwelling creatures who keep our soils alive.

  3. scottx5 says:

    Dandelions have gotten really good at developing a sustainable lifestyle. They survive without any particular malice towards anyone. Their enormous tap root suggests a life dedicated to individual contemplation of self while the seed head indicates a willingness to share the good fortune of a suitable environment for others to flourish in. Personally, I find rhizomes to be sultry, unenthusiastic and likely tainted by unsavory travel through any destination that will coddle their habits of creep and sprawl.

    Anyway, dandelions are without subtlety, shame or permission. Sounds good to me!

    • NomadWarMachine says:

      Gosh, you Dandelion lovers!

      • scottx5 says:

        It could also be that we are somehow influenced by dandelions and unaware of it. Have you ever noticed that they always gaze at the sky as if they in the thrall of messages sub or supra galactic? Though their heads are round and apparently bedazzled like the eyes of believers, they never look at you or even follow your movements. Perhaps we regard them as the anti-cultivar. Beings that do something mysterious without feeling the need to explain themselves, arrange in attractive formations or come with useful brochures or persuade us to form enthusiast clubs.

        The Day of the Triffids
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Day_of_the_Triffids

        • NomadWarMachine says:

          Triffids terrified me when I first read about them. Dandelion triffids are truly the stuff of nightmares.

          • scottx5 says:

            I wonder if we fear plants in general because they SEEM unintentional while dandelions are obviously intent on behaving in a disorderly fashion?

          • NomadWarMachine says:

            Well, I think I’ve got a rebellion on my hands – I’ve just been out untangling a clematis from my sage bush.

  4. Wendy says:

    my taproot (belief) keeps me steady. Cut it off at the surface….it’s still there.

    Love the rant!

  5. Pingback: Ugly is as ugly does | NomadWarMachine

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