Dandelions have recently come to my full attention. I specify, “full,” because I have paid a lot of attention to dandelions in my life, but you know how sometimes there is a certain thing that just keeps popping up in your life around the same time period? Well, those sunny, little dandelions keep popping up, literally and figuratively, in my life. And I keep making wishes on their puffy globes of seeds. So it’s time to talk about them. But I don’t think I can talk about them without utterly trashing most people’s ideas about the importance of a solidly green, plush, unnatural lawn. (See? There I go.)
Last weekend as we sat on our porch having tea and coffee, we engaged in our usual running commentary about all the wildlife, flora and fauna, around us. Home is our serenity spot. Our front porch is one of my personal sanctuaries. We are so fortunate to have enough property that we can allow most of it to grow as it will. We do mow a reasonable portion of lawn. And please note that we USE said lawn. I mean, we really live in it. It is not like a painting on the wall that we just admire and occasionally dust off so it looks good for company. I love our lawn. It has been decorated with violets and dandelions this spring and I just sit back and admire it, along with the beautiful variety of birds, butterflies, and bees that come to visit.
We both noticed after a while that one of our neighbors had been incessantly mowing the same, tiny patch of his lawn for what seemed like an excessive amount of time. Back and forth, first with the rider, then again with the push mower, again and again. This was a new behavior for him, so we were curious about what on earth could be causing this annoying repetition? We really don’t know him well enough to just traipse over there and find out, so we engaged in speculation.
Given the appearance of his lawn, I would hazard a pretty good guess that he belongs to the rather large club of people who have it fixed in their minds that lawns should consist of ONLY grass, and that any other plant that dares show its face, however golden, will be promptly poisoned or forcibly removed. I followed this supposition to the next, which was that if a, “perfect,” lawn is so important, then perhaps the height and evenness of the grass is also important. Sheer nonsense and a waste of precious time, as far as I’m concerned, but to each his own. … No. Sorry. But no. NOT to each his own when it affects everyone else. It may be legally his patch of property, but it is part of the planet that the rest of us have to inhabit.
I want to know how anyone can justify the all important appearance of a lawn when the achievement of this peculiar goal almost always means applying fertilizer and/or toxic chemicals to deter anything but grass? Then there is poison for moles and other lawn-disruptors, along with the pesticides and herbicides. (Not to mention the waste of fossil fuels that happen with excessive mowing habits.) Do people honestly not know that these things leach and run off into the soil and into the precious freshwater lakes and rivers nearby? Do they think that because they can’t see it somehow it won’t affect their dog and their grandchildren, not to mention themselves? Or is it that they think if they can buy it in a store, it must be safe? Many of these same people get VERY bent out of shape if we ride horses past and one of them takes a poop near their lawn. We do clean it up, but seriously, people, you poison the hell out of your lawns and water, then worry about an occasional pile of horse shit nearby? We shouldn’t be the ones apologizing, frankly. (And I can’t help wondering why they don’t have anything better to do than obsess over grass? Is this a, “creative,” process that I just can’t grasp?)
But back to the dandelions. Why? Why is it so important to eradicate these flowers? I do not understand. They are the first food for bees in the spring. Bees=food chain. Bees are dying everywhere. Birds and butterflies also need dandelions for a while. Bees, birds, butterflies = pollinated plants = food for humans.
If the bees, birds, and butterflies don’t convince you, and biodiversity doesn’t matter enough, and you don’t care much if farms and gardens get pollinated, then consider the magic of all the tiny, bright suns sprinkled by nature all over this land. When they are done shining, they become wishes. What could be better than that? A boring, poison-green lawn? I think not. Make a wish.