April 9, 2010

Dandelion Beds and Hair Dryers

I just love this post from The Enchanted Earth.  In it, Meredith celebrates the humble dandelion, and gives us some interesting information about the plant.

Like most people, I have always thought of dandelions as weeds, but every time I bent down to eradicate the little bloomers from my gardens and grass, I was struck by how sunny and bright their yellow faces are, and how tenacious their roots can be.  I wondered why we don't dedicate garden space to them.  They spread, make a great groundcover, bloom endlessly, add a burst of color to the lowest level of the garden, and you can't kill them.  A gardener's dream.

Then I saw this beside the driveway into my local garden center.

They had actually made a dandelion garden.  It wasn't a weedy patch that got neglected (although puffball seedheads had already formed and could have used attention.)  It was planted deliberately, with a peony rising in the middle, a deciduous shrub and a decorative rock, all next to a stream.

In the spirit of "join them if you can't beat them", why not create a patch of dandelions?  And when the yellow flowers are done, just clip them off before the seed heads develop and blow all over the place.  In a dandelion bed the maintenance would be easy, you could clip them all at once.

In fact the whole idea of a dandelion bed reminds me of my strategy to deal with drying my hair (bear with me here).  I would always, always drop rollers when trying to manipulate all the equipment needed to make me presentable each day.  Every single time.  It was so frustrating.  Every bout every morning with the hair dryer involved stooping to pick up what dropped, and I'd get annoyed and bend down and pick up a roller, and then drop the next one and curse.

So one day I put them all on the floor, sat on the tiles, and decided I would simply dry my hair from a position on the floor if that's where the tenacious little rollers wanted to be.  They were going to wind up there anyway.  It works much better now, and I look just as drop dead gorgeous coming out of the bathroom as I did when I stood up and dried my hair at the counter.  At least I think so; Jim doesn't notice and no one in my garden cares.

Same thing with dandelions.  Give in. Your yard is where they want to be.  They're going to wind up there anyway.  Enjoy them, plant them, use them as a groundcover.  Dedicate part of your beds to these sunny characters.  You'll still be weeding dandelions out of the cracks in the sidewalk, and they'll still populate much of your lawn.   But they'll make you happy in your garden, you can control the seedfluff of at least your cultivated patch, and it's just so much easier not to fight them.

Meredith at The Enchanted Earth makes a case for the beauty of dandelions; I'm making the case for the inevitability of them.

Between conducting my beauty routine camped on the bathroom floor, and admiring a flowerbed of dandelions, I think I've learned how to accept that some things will inevitably wind up just where they want to be.  Regardless of what I might want.

15 comments:

  1. And the bees will love you! Dandelions are said to be an important food source for bees. Avoiding systemic herbcides is also, apparently, good for bees!

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  2. Oops! I was just pulling dandelions today! I do think in the proper setting they would be beautiful. The area beside the little stream you photographed is a good example.

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  3. they look nice in their setting. They even look nice in the closeup. But what makes them look real nice is that they are so far away from my yard. jim

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  4. LOL at Jim's comment. ;)

    That garden is amazing. Your local garden center must have some enlightened and whimsical souls working there -- and practical, too. You've made an excellent case for acceptance and working with *what is* and turning it to our advantage. :)

    Also, you are too kind, Laurrie. That was probably the nicest shout-out I've ever received from another blogger. Thank you. Glad you enjoyed the post!

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  5. Lisa and Robb, the bees sure don't know a yellow bloom is a weed and not a garden plant.

    Deborah and Jim, I have to admit I'm still pulling dandelions out of the yard too. They're just in the wrong place most of the time (the very definition of a weed).

    Meredith, thanks for checking out my post. I really did enjoy yours!

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  6. Plus you can eat them! Or make wine. :D

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  7. Kara, I've never had dandelion wine, but it has a long tradition, so it must be okay. Thanks for visiting.

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  8. A very Tao way of looking at things.

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  9. Great point, Laurrie. I think the dandelion is really a beautiful flower, as well as quite yummy if prepared properly. I like the photos of the dandelion garden...what a nice breath of fresh air. Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.

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  10. I love dandelions. They are not common here--probably because of our hot summers. I was actually thinking of ordering some dandelions seeds and growing them in my wildflower meadow.

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  11. They also make great photographic subjects.

    I enjoyed Meredith's post also. I've taken the "if you can't beat em join em" to many plants. My lawn would actually look better with some dandelions in it.

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  12. Sylvana, yes, I have found peace at last!

    Kimberly, you're right, beauty is what we want to see, even in a dandelion.

    Deborah, I can't believe they don't grow all over in the south. You may regret planting them, they seed like crazy.

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  13. Sweet bay, be careful what you wish for --- there's no such thing as "a few" dandelions in a yard!

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