Can’t See the Flower for the Weeds – A Dandelion’s Contribution to Society


A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows. ~Doug Larson

Multi-generational DandelionLock me up now – I love dandelions. All of them, in all stages, though for some reason, I believe the domed d-lions have far more appeal than their flat-faced brethren, but only in their yellow stage. Their puff stage is all about wishes and whims of wind. Vase-resistant, they cannot be cut up for anything but the limpest bouquets. They are opportunistic field flowers, able to grow in the cracks of a super highway or in the crease between tenement house and concrete slab. They sparkle like champagne bubbles across a grassy field. By what contorted thinking is that not a gift of nature?

Consider the effort that goes into the destruction of weeds in the lawn, especially dandelions. Many are so vigilant in their desire to exterminate the easy growing plants in favor of the harder to grow, less hearty varieties that they are willing to toxify the land with every combination of poison. Surely through education, more will recognize the error (and the futility) in that thinking.

Why do we love what does not love us?  With the love of two people – is the difficult love the more enduring kind? Should the person who requires inordinate amounts of our time and effort through constant nurturing be deemed a more deserving person or just a drain of our time, personal resources and emotions? One misguided day, we seem to have all bought into the myth that more difficult is synonymous with more desirable, more deserving of our love and appreciation. But shouldn’t real love, at least at first, be as easy as falling on uneven turf? A dandelion is like the unneutered mutt of the flower kingdom that shows up for us anytime we let it with its bright sunny face to love us and follow us around anywhere we go.

Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them. ~A.A. Milne

Dandelions – As frilly as a soap star’s eyelashes

I challenge each of you to stop and examine a dandelion. The flower is brilliantly yellow and bright, and, as frilly as eyelashes on a soap star. It can coax a person out of the most humdrum mood with the promise of a wish fulfilled with the one-breath launching of its parachuting seeds. It’s a plant and toy in one convenient, abundant package.

How can d-lions change perception? Perhaps they need to band together in their own “Occupy the front lawn” movement. But after years of misinformation, our prejudice runs too deeply. I fear their “Occupy” efforts will result in the landscape police and neighborhood beautification societies coming to move them from the centers of communities where they belong to the abandoned lots around town. Most haters are simply not ready to appreciate the free expression of beauty that children innately understand. But give these beauties time – dandelions are growing on all of us.

Four Stages of Dandelions

Once these plants achieve their rightful place in horticultural society, I can take on the task of promoting squirrels. I love squirrels, they are ingenious, tenacious, funny, and their tails are as fluffy as a dandelion puff…but I’ll save that argument for another day.

©2012 by Alison Colby-Campbell

3 responses to “Can’t See the Flower for the Weeds – A Dandelion’s Contribution to Society

  1. And they are ever so functional. You can eat them, at least the leafy bits, turn them into wine, and they make splendid mulch. Though if you poison them first they are significantly less appetizing and don’t do much for your mulch heap. Frankly, I think we should incorporate dandelions and other nuisance species (to wit deer and turkeys) into the suburban food chain. No so much the squirrels though.

  2. Dandelions also have that neat thing that with a flick of the thumb nail you can send the blossom part flying. I always liked that, and then I used to split the tube style stem and link one quickly dead dandelion to the next for a fairly impressive and inexpensive accessory. Sorry though, Im not all that keen on killing my own once furry or feathered creatures hypocrite that I am – but I would be willing to try dandelion wine sometime – do I have to make it myself?
    Thanks and welcome to my new followers I’ve clicked through and seen some wonderful blogs because you first checked out mine.

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