I was going to pop out and take my own picture of dandelions. After all there’s plenty around at the moment. However this Pixabay photo was so much prettier than anything that I could produce myself I couldn’t resist it.
Now in my newly fledged role as an allotment gardener weeds come in a close second after slugs as the bane of my life. But I have a soft spot for dandelions, pissenlit, as the French call them. This translates to ‘piss in the bed’, a reference to their diuretic qualities. I read somewhere recently that they are the only flower to represent three types of celestial bodies, the sun (the yellow flower) the moon (that silvery ball) and the stars (the dispersing seed heads). Now I think that other plants, such as the poisonous ragwort, might make a similar claim. But the idea is quite a lovely one.
I’ve also read about the benefits of having dandelions on your land. They’re a hardy plant that will grow where nothing else might want to, perhaps because the soil is compacted or it lacks nutrients. That massive tap root that is so hard to dig up can loosen up the earth around it. The plant acts as compost as it dies back at the end of the season, neutralising the soil and adding calcium. And the flowers are some of the earliest of the season providing pollen and nectar for those beneficial insects. For the really keen gourmets every part of the plant can be eaten and they’re a rich source of vitamins and minerals. There’s plenty of recipes on the Internet. Here’s a link to some examples.
So there’s plenty of reasons to regard dandelions as a source of bounty rather than a weed. It’s a good excuse not to pull them up especially as it’s a futile exercise anyway. It only results in more growing in the same spot. Now all I’ve got to do is persuade the more avid gardener in my life. I think that he’s going to take some persuading!